The University of Bristol will not provide compensation for teaching hours missed as a result of planned UCU walkouts.
On the Bristol website, the University made their position clear, writing: ‘We do not plan to provide financial reimbursement for any specific missed teaching sessions due to industrial action.’
This announcement comes in the midst of an increasing show of political support for compensation demands, as yesterday on the Andrew Marr Show, Education Secretary Damian Hinds pointed to students’ ‘rights as consumers.’
On Thursday, large scale walkouts will begin at over 60 universities across the UK, due to a dispute over pension funds between University and College Union (UCU) and Universities UK.
If the strikes run their full course, they could last up to four weeks, and staff could be absent for up to 14 teaching days.
Bristol students have expressed concern over the teaching hours that may be missed, and last week started a petition, demanding £300 of compensation for each student who is affected by the walkouts.
Yesterday on the Andrew Marr Show, Damian Hinds implied that students were well within their rights to demand this compensation.
He said: ‘Nobody wants to see the sort of disruption that we’re talking about and ideally we hope this dispute will be resolved. But if it isn’t, students have rights also as consumers.’
Universities Minister Sam Gyimah made a similar point yesterday morning on BBC Radio 5 Live. He said: ‘I want universities to respect those consumer rights under consumer law and that includes compensation where they are losing out on their courses.’
The UCU general secretary Sally Hunt has previously expressed her support for compensation demands.
She said: ‘Students are understandably worried about the strikes, and angry that their universities appear to be doing absolutely nothing to avert the most disruptive strike action ever seen on UK campuses.
‘It is unsurprising that some students are seeking redress for disruption to a service they feel they are paying for.’
'It is unsurprising that some students are seeking redress'
The University, however, do not acknowledge a need for student compensation as a result of the strikes.
In their statement, they pointed to Section 9 of their Student Agreement, and said: ‘Tuition fees relate to your education as a whole, including the other services and facilities that you receive as a student, and not to individual teaching sessions.’
Featured image: Flickr / Nick Efford