Industrial Action Update

Industrial Action Update

Issued: Tue, 13 Feb 2018 09:12:00 GMT

The University and College Union (UCU) is calling on members to take up to 14 days of strike action as well as action short of a strike over proposed pension changes. As outlined in previous articles in MyGlasgow, the University respects union members’ right to take industrial action but every effort will be made to minimise the potential impact on students.

It is important that colleagues are aware of the consequences of taking industrial action.  The University's Director of Human Resources, Christine Barr, has sent the following letter to members of staff in the categories covered by the UCU.

___________________________________________________________

Dear Colleague

Industrial Action

The University has been notified by the University and College Union (UCU) that their members have been called to take up to 14 days of strike action, across a number of weeks commencing on Thursday 22 February 2018, in response to potential reform of USS pension benefits. UCU has also indicated that members will be asked to take some targeted action short of strike action on a continuous basis.

The University is not party to personal information pertaining to trade union membership at an individual level and is therefore unaware of those members of staff who are members of UCU (and thus eligible to participate in strike action). I am therefore writing to all members of staff in the staff categories covered by UCU and apologise for writing to those of you who are not involved and who will continue to work normally.

The expected dates of strike action are as follows:

  • Thursday 22nd February to Friday 23rd February 2018
  • Monday 26th February to Wednesday 28th February 2018
  • Monday 5th March to Thursday 8th March 2018
  • Monday 12th March to Friday 16th March 2018

In addition, UCU has also called upon its members to participate in action short of a strike from 22 February until no later than 19 June 2018. This action will include: working to contract; not covering for absent colleagues; not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action and not undertaking any voluntary activities.

I must inform you that any member of staff who participates in strike action will be committing a breach of contract and a salary deduction will be made from those confirmed as having taken part in this action, as outlined in the University’s Industrial Action Policy which can be found on the Human Resources – Industrial action webpage.

We have agreed with UCU that on this occasion any salary deduction will be calculated as follows:

• Full-time members of staff: a deduction equivalent to a daily rate of 1/365th of annual salary for each day of strike action.

• Part-time members of staff: a proportional deduction equivalent to contractual hours that should have been worked on each day of strike action.

The University will not withhold salary from members of staff who participate in action short of a strike where this action takes the form of working to contract. However, it should be noted that the University does not regard a refusal to reschedule classes as working to contract; as employer, the University has the right to determine what tasks are prioritised during working hours and to reschedule classes where appropriate in the interests of students. We will therefore withhold salary at a rate of 25% from any member of staff who engages in this form of action.

Any salary deduction that may be applicable would be implemented from the date on which partial performance is identified until such time as a member of staff engaging in such action fully resumes their duties. This is without prejudice to the University’s right to withhold 100% of pay in respect of partial performance rendered on any other date, or to vary this position during this action, in which case staff will be advised in advance of any change to this position.

It is expected that those not taking part in strike action will attend work at the normal location and time or have prior approval for their absence. Requests for annual leave should be submitted in the normal way via the HR Self Service Portal.

Members of staff who are absent from work due to sickness on the day(s) of strike action must submit a fit note which covers that day of absence. Failure to submit such a note may result in pay being deducted. Normal absence reporting procedures should be followed.

Members of staff should be aware that the University is not obliged to make pension contributions for any scheme member when not attending work due to strike action and reserves the right not to do so. However, in accordance with University practice on previous occasions, the University will continue to pay employer contributions to participating scheme members. Similarly, employee pension contributions will be deducted as normal irrespective of any reduction in salary as a consequence of participation in industrial action. This will ensure continuity of pension scheme membership and life assurance benefits.

If you intend to take either strike action or action short of a strike on any of the dates/periods noted above, I kindly request that you notify your Head of School, Director of Research Institute, Director of Professional Services or Head of Service accordingly by completing and returning the two-part form below as soon as possible. I would also kindly ask that you notify the University of your intentions in advance, in order that plans may be put in place to reduce or minimise the potential impact upon students and staff. I must remind you however that you are obliged to inform the University if you have taken strike action on or after the event and should do so by returning the relevant sections of the form below by the dates specified.

Senior managers will be asked to monitor attendance across the period of strike action and to confirm which members of staff participate. Clearly we wish to ensure any such records are accurate and ask that you assist them by responding to any requests for information and by returning the form if you are taking action.

Any pay deductions relating to strike action will be processed as a reduction in the March and/or April (subject to the date you inform line management – see the attached form) salary payments for those confirmed as having participated in such action. This will be managed centrally by the HR function. Pay deductions relating to any identified partial performance, observed as any action short of a strike, will be made from the next appropriate month following confirmation of partial performance.

The University has already communicated its position on the potential reform of USS pension benefits. We recognise the right of trade union members to take industrial action and will strive to maintain positive working relationships with UCU throughout the dispute. At the same time, we are concerned to limit any negative impact on students.

With regard to the pension scheme, the University has made it clear that it would like to retain a defined benefits element to the scheme if possible and would be prepared to support a modest increase in employer contributions. We wish to see a settlement, which secures the best possible benefits for staff, is affordable to employers and employees, and is acceptable to the Pensions Regulator.

Like the UCU, we will continue to call for further talks at national level to find a way forward. Any industrial action on campus will not change the University’s position.

Further information, including the University’s Industrial Action Policy and FAQs, can be found on the Human Resources – Industrial action webpage. If you have any queries about this letter, please contact your College or University Services HR team.

Kind regards

Image of Christine Barr's signature

 

 

Christine Barr

Director of Human Resources