Reimbursement of tuition fees for the days teaching staff are on strike.
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We, the students of City, University of London believe that is fair and just to be proportionately reimbursed for the loss of contact hours with our tutors or lecturers during the UCU strike.
Teaching staff across the country are taking industrial action to fight for their pensions, for many this means temporarily forgoing their wages during that time. It is our assessment that this would actually lead to an increase in profit for the institutions as they no longer bare the cost of paying those staff during that period. Meanwhile, the consumer, who paid for that service, receives neither the tuition nor reimbursement. This creates a situation where Universities are under very little pressure to push for re-opening negotiations and we hope this petition goes some way towards striking a balance between consumer fairness and the right to take industrial action.
Currently, under the terms of enrolment, the University is not liable to compensate students for a failure to perform its obligations if that failure is due to circumstances beyond its control including, but not limited to, industrial action by its employees.
However, we believe that this term is ‘unjustifiably unbalanced’ because the university no longer bears the cost of fulfilling its obligation, in this case a quantity of tuition hours, but continues to require full payment from the students as if those obligations were being performed fully.
If a portion of our tuition fee is paid to cover the University’s cost of providing tuition and the University is no longer able to provide that tuition, then regardless of it being beyond the university’s control, they should not be allowed to retain what would otherwise have been an expense in consideration of providing that service. It is our contention that it is completely unbalanced for the University to increase its profit from a situation where that increase in profit is the direct result of them not fulfilling a contractual obligation. Consumer law in general prohibits rewarding non-performance.
A blanket term and condition used in this manner could very easily fall foul of the fairness test.
In summary, If the University is now saving money by not paying staff who strike, and it is the consumers who paid the university to pay those staff, then logically those savings should be reimbursed.
By creating awareness of this and insisting on our consumer rights, we hope to unilaterally direct the industrial action at those it is intended at whilst minimizing unintended collateral damage to students.
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