Notice of further industrial action sent to staff on 19 January

Dear colleague,

The Universities and Colleges Union (UCU), which represents academic and academic-related staff at the University, has announced its intention to hold a further 18 days of strike action during February and March. We have been notified that the first day of strike action will be on Wednesday 1 February, 2023. Further strike action dates are expected to be announced and, as we receive further notifications from UCU, we will share this information with you.

We are disappointed by the escalation of this action, which is part of an ongoing national dispute covering pay and pensions. These are issues where the University cannot act independently to bring about a resolution as they are subject to national negotiation. However, we support and encourage ongoing national talks between UCU and UCEA (as the collective representative of employers) and USS on the issues of pay and conditions and pensions respectively.

Minimising the impact on students

Our priority remains to minimise the impact of any strike action or forms of ASOS on our students. While we expect that most timetabled student sessions will continue as normal during the strike action, there are plans in place to mitigate the impact of disruption on students. We expect that the University will continue to operate normally during this period, with the main library, all study spaces and other student services continuing to operate across the campus.

Information for staff taking part in industrial action

Strike action - Staff who choose to take strike action are encouraged to let their School know of their intention to do so in advance in order to assist with planning and support for students. Staff who take strike action need to report their absence via Core systems after each strike day they take.

Salary will be withheld on the basis of 100% of pay for each day a member of staff chooses to take strike action. Although it is not obliged to do so, the University will pay both the employer and employee pensions contributions for those staff who take strike action in order to ensure that colleagues do not experience any break in their pension contributions or benefits.

ASOS - For staff engaging in the following three forms of ASOS currently sanctioned by UCU to 20 April, 2023, there will be no reduction of pay, provided that staff continue to work their contracted hours and duties and respond to reasonable management requests to prioritise their workload to minimise the impact of strike action on student learning, outcomes and experience:

  • Working to contract
  • Not undertaking any voluntary activities
  • Not covering for absent colleagues

The University regards the following forms of ASOS as partial performance of duties, which will not be accepted. Should a member of staff engage in these following forms of ASOS and fail to mitigate the impact of such actions to the satisfaction of the Head of Department, the University will pay staff at the rate of 50% only until such time as the Head of Department is content that the matter has been adequately mitigated:

  • Removing uploaded materials related to, and / or not sharing materials related to, lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled as a result of strike action
  • Not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action

In the case of rescheduling lost teaching, there will be no penalty if the member of staff agrees with their Head of Department or School a suitable method of mitigating lost student learning.

The University reserves the legal right to further reduce pay for ASOS and withhold up to 100% of pay for ASOS where such action amounts to partial performance of contract, and particularly if a member of staff refuses to either fulfil their contracted hours or duties, respond to a reasonable management request, engages in a form of ASOS not currently sanctioned by UCU or where such action affects student education or experience.

All forms of ASOS, regardless of whether they incur withholding of pay, must be recorded by the staff member taking such action via Core Systems. 

Respecting others’ point of view

Industrial action always presents a challenging time for the University and the sector as a whole, with a range of views felt by staff and students. It is important that we remain respectful of each other’s views on the matters in dispute and the decisions individual staff make over whether to support the industrial action.

I thank you in advance for your support and understanding and continued commitment to our students and their education.

In the meantime, we have published some Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) on the industrial action.

Professor Stephen Jarvis
Interim Provost and Vice-Principal


Professional Services