Industrial action by UCU on 30 November 2011

The University and College Union have issued the College with a notice of industrial action in the form of a one day strike on 30 November 2011.  This is in support of their continued dispute on the USS pension reform and is timed to coincide with the protest by public sector trade unions at the Government’s proposed changes to public sector pension schemes.

Members of Imperial College staff participating in industrial action on 30 November

Members of staff who do not attend work on 30 November in support of the industrial action are not entitled to be paid for the day of absence.  Pay will be deducted at 1/261th of annual salary.  Pension membership would normally be suspended during industrial action but the College has taken the decision to maintain contributions to ensure that staff have life cover maintained during this period.  

Members of staff taking Industrial Action are requested to notify their Head of Department in advance of the action and to copy this notification to the Director of HR – directorofhr@imperial.ac.uk

A sample message to send to the Head of Department is provided here.

On the day of industrial action

The College will monitor the numbers of staff intending to take industrial action and plan any adjustments to services and teaching accordingly.  There is a very short period of time to gather names and then to assess the potential impact.  Staff and students should monitor the College staff pages  for the latest information on services and teaching.

 If industrial action does take place then it is usual practice for the Union to place picket lines at some entrances to the College.  The Union may distribute leaflets and talk to members of staff and students attending College on the day of action.  The College’s experience is that pickets run by its local unions have always been conducted in a professional, peaceful and non-threatening way.  Members of the College community can be assured that they will not be prevented from going about their usual business on the day of the action if they wish to do so.

UCU Action Short of a Strike

The one day action supplements UCU’s ongoing continuous industrial action in the form of working to contractual responsibilities only.  Action short of a strike usually consists of union members refusing to do parts of their role which are non contractual.  The College will not accept partial performance of a contract.  Where a member of staff declines to participate in an activity that his / her line manager considers to be part of the normal requirements for the role, pay will be withheld in full.  Further information will be provided to any member of staff who wishes to take part in action short of a strike.

Industrial Action by Public Sector Workers

The strike by public sector workers not connected with the College may still impact on the ability of staff to attend work as normal on 30 November.  The most likely causes of disruption are school closures and possibly disruption to travel services.   Each member of staff is expected to make every reasonable effort to present him/herself for work.  If a member of staff anticipates that she or he may not be able to attend work as normal on 30 November due to industrial action not connected with the College then they must discuss the possibility of alternative working arrangements for the day with their manager, in advance of the strike day.

Alternatives working arrangements are subject to the operational priorities of the department and must be approved by the line manager.   Options for consideration are:

  • Early or late start to co-ordinate with others sharing non public transport travel arrangements etc.
  •  Taking leave (paid or unpaid), provided that this is acceptable in terms of the needs of the department/division.
  •  Redistribution of working hours, to make up the strike day not worked, provided that this is acceptable in terms of the needs of the department/division.
  •  Taking work home or working from home.

 Please contact your local HR team with any questions.

UCU Industrial Action

The University and College Union have issued the College with a notice of Industrial Action.  This is a national union campaign.  The notice indicates this action relates to the ‘proposed detrimental changes to USS and retaining comparable pension benefits’.   The changes to USS are no longer proposed changes and have been implemented with effect from  1 October 2011.  See Pensions and Industrial Action for the full background.

The action will commence from 10 October 2011 and will be in the form of ‘action short of a strike’.  UCU have therefore advised their members to abide by the terms of their contracts (including their obligation to perform their duties in an efficient manner) but to do no more than that; and in particular to:

(a)    Work no more than their contracted hours where those hours are expressly stated and in any event not to exceed the maximum hours stipulated by the Working Time Regulations (unless there has been an individual opt-out);

(b)   Perform no additional voluntary duties, such as out of hours cover, or covering for colleagues (unless such cover is contractually required);

(c)    Set and mark no work beyond that work which they are contractually obliged to set and/or mark;

(d)   Attend no meetings where such attendance is voluntary on the part of the member.

The hours of work for all those represented by UCU are ‘as required for the reasonable performance of the role’.  There is also a contractual expectation of flexibility within the remit of the role and grade.    The College does not accept partial performance of a role.  Therefore, where a member of staff declines to participate in an activity that his / her line manager considers to be part of the normal requirements for the role, pay will be withheld in full.  Further information will be provided to any member of staff who wishes to take industrial action.

For further information contact the Director of HR, Louise Lindsay at: directorofhr@imperial.ac.uk