UCU strike update

Issued: Mon, 02 Dec 2019 13:57:49 GMT

Today (Monday, 2 December) marks the sixth day of strike action being taken by members of the University and College Union (UCU).

A minority of academic and professional services staff have reported being out on strike, with some Schools (mainly in the Colleges of Social Sciences and Arts) being affected more than others.

As per the local agreement with UCU, pay will be deducted over more than one month. Withheld pay will be used for student causes – to be determined in due course, in conjunction with the Students’ Representative Council.
The relationship between the University and UCU Glasgow has remained positive throughout the dispute.

A joint statement was issued on Friday, 22 November:

Joint statement

The University and UCU Glasgow have agreed the following statement on the current dispute between UCU and UK universities.

While respecting the right of staff to take industrial action, the University of Glasgow and UCU Glasgow regret the disruption that may be caused to students and are committed to doing whatever we can to minimise it.

UCU Glasgow will:

  • not discourage students from crossing picket lines or attending classes during the period of strike action
  • encourage members to consider informing their students in advance if they are taking action (this is in recognition of the fact that some students could face mobility or financial issues as a consequence of unnecessary travel).
  • instruct members to inform their line managers as early as possible whether they have taken industrial action
  • instruct members to collaborate in identifying coursework that will not be covered as a consequence of strike action
  • instruct members to follow requests from line managers regarding the prioritisation of work when they are not taking industrial action.

The University will:

  • spread pay deductions over two months for those who participate in more than one day of strike action in the period 25 November - 4 December
  • continue to pay employer pension contributions for scheme members
  • deduct employee contributions as normal irrespective of any reduction in salary unless individual employees advise otherwise.
  • for any member applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain, provide the necessary information described in Home Office Immigration Rules. The University will record absence due to industrial action taken by Tier 2 Visa holders.

The University will not deduct pay for action short of a strike which constitutes working to contract. UCU recognises the right of the University to deduct pay for any action short of a strike which constitutes a breach of the employment contract (including, for example, a refusal to prioritise work in accordance with line manager requests).

Regarding the issues under dispute:

  • While recognising that any increases in pension contributions are regrettable, the University and UCU Glasgow are jointly committed to retaining a defined benefit element of the pension scheme that is affordable.
  • On pay, both the University and UCU Glasgow agree that there should be further talks at national level with a view to resolving the dispute. We welcome the fact that talks have now been agreed and are due to begin on Tuesday 26 November.
  • While accepting that more needs to be done, the University and UCU Glasgow acknowledge the real progress that has been made locally on other areas under dispute. This includes:
  • a significant reduction in both ‘zero-hour’ working arrangements and formalising responsible employment relationships for our GTA population;
  • a gender pay action plan which has reduced the University’s gender pay gap by some 10% over the past decade, with a 3.5% decrease in the pay gap since 2013/14;
  • the introduction of new caring and flexible working related policies in response to the 2018 Staff Survey.