Frequently asked questions
Q. When is the industrial action taking place?
A. Industrial action in the form of strike action will take place on 1, 2 and 3 December 2021 and action short of a strike (ASOS) continuously from the 1 December 2021 ending no later than 3 May 2022.
Q. Why is it taking place?
A. Members of the University and College Union (UCU) have voted to strike over pay and working conditions.
Q. What strike action will be taken?
A. On 1, 2 and 3 December 2021 UCU members may choose not to carry out any of their contractual duties.
Q. What action short of a strike will be taken?
A. The UCU has notified us that it will induce its members to undertake continuous action short of a strike starting on Wednesday, 1 December 2021 and ending no later than Tuesday, 3 May 2022. UCU has informed us that ASOS will consist of its members ‘only working their contracted hours and duties and not volunteering to do more’. UCU members cannot lawfully undertake any other forms of ASOS until UCU provides our University with advance written notice.
Q. Will all members UCU take part in the action?
A. Taking part in industrial action is a personal choice. Whilst some UCU members will take part, others may choose not to. Any member of University staff who is not a member of the UCU is expected to carry out their contractual duties as normal during periods of industrial action.
Q. Can staff in other trade unions, or not a member of a union, take part in the action?
This strike action is being undertaken by the UCU. Members of staff who are not members of the UCU but fall within the categories of employees who the UCU has notified us it intends to induce to take industrial action, may participate. However if a member of staff is a member of another trade union, and that trade union has not endorsed or authorised industrial action, the action will be deemed unofficial.
Q. Will the University and buildings remain open?
A. Yes, the University will remain open on strike days. It's our aim that all our campus spaces remain open and that activities and services run as normal. However, there will be some disruption.
Q. What is a picket line?
A. Picket lines are there to enable those taking part in strike action to pass on information about the reasons behind the action to staff, students and visitors to campus. Each picket should be made up of a maximum of six people who are expected to pass on information in a peaceful and respectful manner.
Q. Am I allowed to cross a picket line?
A. Yes. Staff and students should not be prevented from gaining access to University premises to carry out their work or studies. Members of staff who refuse or fail to cross a picket line and who consequently cannot carry out their work will have their pay deducted at the same rate as those taking part in strike action. If you have any questions about working during strike action you should contact your HR Partner or Head of HR.
Q. I’m concerned over some behaviour on campus related to IA on campus. How should I report this?
A. Our University will not tolerate threatening, abusive, insulting or intimidating behaviour at any picket line. If you wish to report unacceptable behaviour at a picket line, you should contact your HR Partner or Head of HR.
Q. Do I need to report that I intend to take part in strike action?
A. Before Strike Days/ASOS, line managers can ask staff if they intend to take part in Strike Days/ASOS prior to the action taking place to ensure that duties aren’t assigned to staff who are taking part in action. We expect staff to respond promptly and honestly to such requests. However, staff taking part in industrial action do not have to confirm they intend to do so before the action takes place.
Q. When and how do I report that I have taken part in strike action/ASOS?
A. Line managers must ask staff if they have taken part in industrial action after the date the action begins and staff must respond. We trust colleagues who have taken part in action to inform their line manager and complete the relevant self-reporting form(s). This is so that any pay can be withheld as appropriate. The forms are:
- Strike Day reporting form – staff should complete this as soon as possible and before the deadline of 4 January 2022 for strike days in December 2021.
- Action short of a strike reporting form – staff should complete this after each period of ASOS and before the deadline of 4 January 2022 for ASOS in December 2021.
Any member of staff who fails to report taking part in strike action or ASOS, but who is later found to have taken part in such action, will have pay withheld.
Q. What happens after I’ve completed the form(s)?
A. After the deadline date of 4 January 2022 for strike action taking place in December, details of those staff who have completed the reporting form will be shared with Heads of HR who will work with line managers to ensure that everyone who has taken part in industrial action has self-declared using the online form.
Q. I have not taken part in strike action or ASOS. Do I need to do anything?
A. Staff who have not taken part in any action do not need to complete the online reporting form but should inform their line manager when asked, that they have not taken part in any action. Any member of staff who fails to report taking part in strike action or ASOS, but who is later found to have taken part in such action, will have pay withheld.
Q. What guidance has been shared with students on strike action?
A. We are advising students to continue attending teaching, completing assessments and generally studying as normal. We have told them that Schools will try to minimise disruption, but that there may be some impact on their teaching or research supervision and in many cases we will not know about this in advance.
Further information for students is available on our University’s strike action: information for students page – this will hopefully answer most queries. The University has also sent this information direct to all students via email.
Q. I’m a GTA – will I continue to be paid for teaching that gets cancelled due to strike action, even if I am not on strike myself?
A. The University will ensure that no member of staff (including GTAs) is negatively impacted financially as result of strike action where teaching (or other casual paid activity) get cancelled. If you choose to take strike action you must report it by completing the appropriate form(s). You should report strike absence only for the days on which you were due to work.
Q. Do I have to tell my line manager I am taking part in strike action?
A. Before Strike Days/ASOS, line managers can ask staff if they intend to take part in Strike Days/ASOS prior to the action taking place to ensure that duties aren’t assigned to staff who are taking part in action. We expect staff to respond promptly and honestly to such requests. However, staff taking part in industrial action do not have to confirm they intend to do so before the action takes place. Line managers must ask staff if they have taken part in industrial action after the date the action begins and staff must respond.
Q. Will my pay be reduced when I go on strike?
A. Yes. The University has decided to withhold pay at 100% of 1/365th of annual salary for each day of strike action taken on strike days. Staff will be able to see the detail of the amount withheld in their payslips on My View. Please note that where any late notifications of strike action are received, colleagues will have their corresponding pay withheld in the next available payroll. This will be shown in their payslips on My View.
Q. Will my pay be reduced if I take part in ASOS?
A. UCU has informed us that the ASOS will consist of its members only working their contracted hours and duties and not volunteering to do more. Colleagues with Academic and Academic-related contracts, and Research and Teaching staff at our University are: “required to undertake such hours as necessary for the proper discharge of their duties”.
Provided that the ASOS carried out by individuals does not impact upon the “proper discharge of their duties” then this should not result in partial performance of duties and the University will not withhold pay. However, if ASOS does impact upon the “proper discharge of their duties”, the University reserves the right to withhold pay up to 100% at a rate of 1/365th of salary each day of ASOS.
Q. What happens to the pay that is withheld?
A. We are discussing with our Students’ Union how any strike pay that is withheld can be used to benefit our students.
Q. Can I remove posters/other material in relation to industrial action that have been put on doors/entrances and walls?
A. Yes, you can remove posters or other materials. We also remind staff not to place posters on doors that may obstruct view or damage walls when not placed on designated notice boards. Posters not on notice boards are a fire hazard and will be removed.