Industrial action (strike) complaints

What, how and when you can make a complaint about the impact of strike action at Goldsmiths.

Primary page content

The university is working hard to minimise disruption to your student experience during the period of industrial action.

If you are experiencing difficulties as a result of the strikes you may be able to make a complaint at a later date.

Often - as with general complaints - your department may be able to help resolve matters for you. If your concern relates to support services, then you should contact the manager of that service.

What you can complain about

You can complain about any dissatisfaction as a direct result of the strikes.

If a taught session goes ahead but you choose not to attend because you do not want to cross a picket line, then it would not count as a lost learning opportunity.

Please note, that the College’s position on the industrial action and the Recovery Programme is outside the scope of the Student Complaints Procedure. Complaints that are solely about the College’s position or Recovery Programme will not be considered. Information on how students can respond to the Recovery Programme is on Learn.gold (VLE) and can also be raised via Goldsmiths Students' Union channels.

When you can make a complaint

A complaint needs to be about something that has actually happened so that the total impact can be measured. We anticipate that learning opportunities will be made available for students over time. We take our obligations under consumer protection law very seriously.

In line with the obligation and guidance from the Office for Students, the College will be operating a slightly revised complaints process in relation to industrial action.

The process will be as follows:

  1. We will automatically assess what educational services were cancelled as a result of the strikes and consider what alternative arrangements have or will be made to minimise the impact of strikes on your studies.

    If we have been unable to deliver what we promised, or what you might reasonably have expected to receive, we will automatically consider whether you are entitled to any refund of tuition fees.

    Once we have carried out that assessment we will let you know and explain what to do next if you are unhappy with our assessment.

    The College is already assessing the impact of the strike action that took place in late 2021 and will look at the impact of future strike action as soon as possible after it ends.

    This outcome is part of Stage One of the College’s complaint’s process.

  2. Once we have carried out this assessment and written to you, you will have 6 months to submit a complaint at Stage Two complaint form. The form will ask you some additional questions, relating specifically to the impact of industrial action on your studies.

What this means is that it is too early to complain about the impact of strike action on your studies.

Any complaints submitted now would have to be put on hold until we have completed Stage One of this process. You can still make a complaint if it is about another issue using the usual process.

What we are currently doing

We are sorry it is taking so long to assess the impact of the strike action and to automatically consider whether students are entitled to any refund of tuition fees. We are also sorry we haven't been able to provide information by the dates we published on this page. The delay is because the continuing action may change the overall impact.

We have carried out an initial review of the impact of strike action that occurred at the end of 2021 and we are carrying out a review of the 2022 strike action at the moment.

We are also now working with academic departments to assess the impact on upcoming assessments and put in place amendments to assessments as may be necessary.

The College will be able to update students in the coming months about the outcome of the initial review undertaken and advise students about the options available to raise concerns about the outcome of that review.

We are working hard to ensure you are not academically disadvantaged, even if we are not writing to you directly at this stage about it. We will update this webpage as often as we can.

Outcome of complaints

The final outcomes for these matters may take some time to complete - while the College considers what alternative learning opportunities can be provided to students during their studies.

In responding to complaints, we follow guidance from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA). We recommend you read their FAQs on industrial action.

The OIA has said the following about refunds of tuition fees:

“Your provider may do several things to try to ensure that you are not disadvantaged because of the industrial action. They may be able to re-schedule missed teaching or offer a different way to deliver the content. Providers may also take the industrial action into account when deciding how to carry out assessments. You might not be entitled to a financial remedy if the provider is able to take steps to put things right another way.

“Your provider might offer you a financial remedy, particularly if it is unable to take any other action to put the situation right.”

Support and further information on the industrial action

We appreciate that the uncertainty may be unsettling and information will be kept up to date on our industrial action pages and via your department. The Student Centre will remain open and support services, including Wellbeing, will continue to be provided.