Students poised to sue universities over lecturer strikes

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Just what might student class action mean for universities? (Stock image)

The University of Kent is potentially facing a legal claim from students whose education was affected by lecturers’ industrial action earlier this year.

It is one of 65 institutions which saw walk-outs after staff protested that a change to the way that pensions are awarded would leave them up to £10,000 a year worse off.

Today it emerged that more than 1,000 students have joined a class action to claim compensation for teaching they missed during the strike.

If successful, the pay-outs across the universities could run into millions.

The most significant threat of action is understood to come from overseas students who pay considerably more in student fees than domestic students.

Kent, like many other of the leading universities, attracts thousands of foreign students and is keeping abreast of developments.

Spokesman Sandy Fleming said: “The university is currently working with Kent Union on gathering information to assess the impact of industrial action on individual modules across the university.

“This information will allow us to develop a policy and effective mechanisms to support the consideration of any claim for compensation in a fair and equitable manner.”

Specialist high-end litigation firm Asserson is handling a Group Litigation Order, a class action, on behalf of more than 1,000 students.

Shimron Goldwater, its senior solicitor, believes they have a good case.

“No other service provider would get away with charging for 25 weeks of a service and cutting that to 22 with no price reduction,” he said.

“There is no question that universities owe students fair compensation. More than 20,000 undergraduates attend each large UK university. Paying approximately £500 compensation to each would cost £10 million.”

Although some students are pursuing legal action, others supported the striking lecturers – even though their tutors threatened to disrupt the end of year exam season thereby delaying the publication of results.

1 COMMENT

  1. Too right they should be paying up,they were the cause of the walkouts after screwing over pensions,lecturers were not at fault,it was the only action they could have taken. Whats the Uni,s nxt move? Lets try and turn the students against the lecturers while we skip out the back door…

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