As a follow-up to my previous post on the current dispute between UCU and UUK about changes to the USS pension scheme, a characteristic of this dispute has been the divergent approaches taken by employers with regard to salary deductions for those taking part in the Action Short of Strike (ASOS) which in this case is a marking and assessment boycott. A minority (Times Higher Education is quoting “at least 8” in this story from 13 November) have taken a particularly hard line, informing staff that they would dock 100% of salary for participation in the ASOS. Others plan to dock 20% or 25%, and some intend to dock 100% but return 75% ex gratia. Yet details about which universities are adopting which tactics are also hard to find.
As a start, the universities known to be threatening 100% deductions include (in alphabetical order):
- University of Bradford
- University of East Anglia
- University of Glasgow
- University of Liverpool
- University of Salford
- University of Sussex
- University of Ulster
- University of York (apparently reconsidering)
Let me know what your institution is threatening and I’ll add it to the list.
Some useful references about this practice are:
- Law Profs. Alan Bogg (Oxford) and Keith Ewing (KCL) have reflected on the bullying and intimidation tactics being pursued by various institutions, and question their legality under European Law: http://www.ier.org.uk/blog/pensions-dispute-bullying-tactics-violate-workers-human-rights (reblogged on http://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2014/11/12/alan-bogg-and-keith-ewing-pensions-dispute-bullying-tactics-violate-workers-human-rights/).
- The law firm Pinsent Masons, which appears to advise Universities on employment law issues, puts up briefings on its website (presumably to generate business) and these make enlightening reading: http://www.pinsentmasons.com/en/employmentlawplus/knowledge/sector-briefings/universities-sector/?employmentsectors=618.
- A particularly interesting briefing Pinsent Masons wrote during the 2013 industrial action — entitled “Guidance to Universities on Responding to Industrial Action – 2013” — since appears to have been taken down, but staff at HEI’s are likely to see various wordings from this reproduced in different forms in communications from university management teams about participation in industrial action.