The University of Sussex will become the first British university to offer students strike compensation following recent industrial action at institutions across the country.
The university is offering its students up to £100 for “distress and inconvenience” caused by the University and College Union (UCU)’s eight-day strike at the end of last year.
Sussex are asking students to apply for the money through their “industrial action ex gratia scheme”, an online form where students can rate impact of the strikes on their learning from minor to significant, as well as detailing contact hours missed.
Pro-vice chancellor Kelly Coate wrote to students: “We do recognise that some students may have experienced distress and/or inconvenience during the strike days. So we have moved quickly to provide an opportunity for you to tell us if you feel you experienced any distress and inconvenience – and to what extent – and have decided to launch an ‘ex-gratia’ payment scheme in respect of this – which is now open. The University of Sussex believes this is important to offer its students.”
The university says it will offer £40 for minor distress and inconvenience, and £100 for the maximum, following advice from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).
UCU are currently balloting on whether to undertake further industrial action at a further 25 universities during the upcoming term, voting closing on the 28th of January. Over 60 universities took part in last term’s strike.
The Office for Students (OFS) advises students who have had lectures, assessments and services disrupted due to strike action to contact their university or Students’ Union to see if it is possible to make up for lost teaching. The OFS has also encouraged students to apply for mitigating circumstances.