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To University and College Union (UCU) Members

06 Nov 2014

The University has been formally notified by the Universities and College Union (UCU) that it will take industrial action and that their intention is for there to be continuous action short of a strike in the form of an assessment and marking boycott commencing on 6 November 2014

We are contacting all staff about this matter because we do not hold information about who is or who is not a UCU member. We regret the imposition on the overwhelming majority of staff who we recognise will not be taking part in the UCU’s planned disruption.

This particular action is being called by UCU in response to the national employers’ proposals for changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). Whilst recognising the rights of individual members of staff to take industrial action, it is the University’s intention to endeavour to maintain normal operations during industrial action in order to safeguard the interests of our students and also of our staff and other stakeholders.

The University will manage this situation in a spirit of collegiality by respecting the integrity and professionalism of all our staff. We will determine if a member of staff has engaged in industrial action by asking them to complete a pro-forma and by trusting them to inform their Head of School that they have taken such action.  

Please download and complete the pro-forma below on or after 6 November 2014 indicating the date from which you will be refusing to carry out duties associated with assessment and return the pro-forma to your Head of School:

The University will expect all members of staff to discharge all their normal responsibilities as employees if they do not complete the pro forma provided and indicate to their Head of School that they are taking industrial action.

Where individual staff do take part in UCU’s industrial action in the form of an assessment and marking boycott, the University will not accept the partial performance of the contract of any member of staff. This means that if you were to decide to take part in strike action or the currently notified continuous action short of a strike by refusing to carry out duties associated with assessment and did not fulfil all the requirements of your contract, you would consequently not be entitled to your contractual pay from the date when you started to participate in the action.

Where a breach does occur we reserve the right to withhold 100% of pay, at a daily rate of 1/260th of annual salary. However, it has been decided that, in the first instance we will withhold 20% of pay at a daily rate of 1/260th of annual salary from the date on which you begin to take part in the industrial action short of a strike.

The payment of salary for the remaining 80% is discretionary and is conditional on other contractual responsibilities and attendance commitments being met.

We reserve the right to increase the percentage withheld to 100%.

Staff will be informed when any deductions will be made. Please note that although the pay to be withheld for participation in the action short of a strike may relate to one or more particular month’s payroll run, it may not be possible to administer adjustments to pay by the payroll cut-off point for that month and therefore the proportion of pay withheld may fall into the subsequent month.

If you are a member of a pension scheme, UCU can advise you on the implications for your pension cover if you decide to take part in the industrial action. The University is not obliged to make full employer contributions to pension during industrial action when full pay is not being paid. However, please see the note below setting out the University of Manchester’s policy and explaining how the University will maintain employer contributions and support individuals to maintain their pension cover.

If you do choose to take part in the action being called by UCU and, at a later stage, you decide to change your position regarding your involvement in the industrial action and resume working normally; you should notify your Head of School immediately in writing. Your salary would then be reinstated to your normal contractual salary from the date on which you return to normal working.

Any pay that has previously been withheld will not be reinstated.

If you have any queries about this then please refer to:

Further updates on industrial action will be issued as soon as information is available.


Karen Heaton
Director of Human Resources