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UCU Strike update

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SU Student Guidance for period of UCU Strikes 

The 20th of February marks the beginning of up to 14 working days of University and College Union (UCU) industrial action. Amongst other activities, striking academic staff will withhold labour and form picket lines in front of the University buildings during this time. You can find the reasons for the strike here. 

Your varied feedback and concerns are all of equal importance to the SU, who will keep you updated by sharing current information on the strikes as it becomes available. The SU is in constant contact with the UCU and Royal College Management. We take our responsibility to all students very seriously, and our stance is to both facilitate solidarity between students and staff, and represent the students who are concerned about their loss of teaching. We have put together the guidance below to address some of the most commonly asked questions, but keep an eye out on our website and social media for updates. 


What should I do if I want to support the strike?

RCASU and NUS (national union of students) support the strikes. You can show your support in a variety of ways. 

Picket lines 

UCU Union member staff will be on the picket line from 9am - 2pm on all strike days. 

Picket lines are a form of protest where people congregate outside of a place of work. The aims of a picket are to dissuade others from going in, to disrupt the institution, and to draw attention to a cause. During the UCU Strike, striking staff are expected to walk out of the workplace and form a picket. 

Students can join the picket and stand in support with staff, as well as participate in the planned teach-outs, performances and talks taking place at the picket. If you’d like to find out more about teach-outs, email A schedule of picket line activities is being put together and constantly updated here. 

Make your support visible

We’ve put together an open-source folder containing posters and other visuals which you can access here. You can use the space around you - including your own studio space - to show your solidarity with staff. You can also support the strike through social media, tagging @ucunion and on Instagram, or @UCU  @rcaucu and @RCAStudentUnion on Twitter. You can also tag the Royal College of Art on these platforms. 

You can also follow @strike_radio on instagram and help broadcast the strikes.


Write to the Vice Chancellor 

As students, you have a powerful voice, and you can write to the Vice Chancellor Paul Thompson ( to express your opinions

We have written a template letter for you, you can copy and paste the content and email and/or sign the form that we'll send on to Paul Thompson. Access the form here.

NUS (National Union of Students) have also put together a template letter you can use and edit here. Feel free to use this one too... copy and paste it, or change it to best express your views. 

You can also send emails to RCA Senior Management explaining how you have been impacted by the strikes. Demand that the university find fair and equitable ways to compensate students without punishing or asking striking staff to make up work missed through striking (as this would de-legitimise the strike).


What should I do if I am concerned about the loss of teaching and want to flag this up with the university? 

The strikes might mean you have no teaching on the days that UCU has designated for the strike. You can raise this issue through RCA's complaints procedure, either individually or as a group. You can read the student complaint policy at the bottom of this web page and download the complaint from here. 

We advise you to wait until the strike period is over to make a complaint so you can detail the days missed and impact on your studies. We are here to support you with this process so please get in touch with us if you would like to make a complaint. 

If you are a Course Rep receiving a lot of questions about the strikes, we can support you by coordinating a group complaint on behalf of your course.


I have a question which isn’t answered by any of the above 

RCA have put together a frequently asked questions page which you can read here. It assures students with Tier 4 visas that attendance/non-attendance is not being recorded on strike days. 


You can email us at - we are always here to support you and we’ll answer your questions as best we can. 


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