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All UCL e-mail Monday 27th January 2014
Subject Industrial Action by members of the Universities and College Union
Author:Nigel Waugh
Job title: Director of Human Resources

Important notice

Dear Colleague,

I write further to my email of 21st January 2014 which related to the regrettable notification of industrial action by members of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU). We have been advised that UCU members will be expected to take two hour strikes on Tuesday 28th January between 14.00 - 16.00 and on Monday 10th February between 09.00 - 11.00. UCU has advised that its members are striking in support of its national pay claim for 2013/14 and that the strikes are intended to cause significant disruption. While it has not been possible to reach agreement nationally with the UCU over its pay claim, UCL has decided to award a pay increase to staff which will be reflected in the January payroll, with arrears being paid back to August last year. 

Participation in these strikes constitutes partial performance of contracted duties on those dates. Council's 2008 statement on partial performance (available here http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/pay_negotiations.php) makes it clear that UCL will not accept partial performance of a contract of employment, including partial performance in the form of a part-day strike, and that pay will be deducted as a consequence.  Any industrial action is a breach of contract for which UCL is entitled to withhold 100% of pay for each day on which staff are unwilling to, or do not, perform their full contractual duties for that day.

UCL has decided that UCU members who participate in the strike action on 28th January  will only have pay deducted for the two hour period of the strike, provided that they work normally and carry out their full contracted duties at all other times on those days. If, as expected, the impact of action on 28th January remains minimal, UCL will only deduct two hours pay relating to the action on 10th February, provided staff work normally and carry out their full duties at all other times on that day. UCL will notify staff before 10th February should this position in relation to pay deduction change.

UCL reserves its rights to withhold a full day's pay for future instances of industrial action. UCL will inform staff in due course of its decisions on the amount of pay to be withheld for any further strikes and for any action short of a strike which is notified by UCU, Unite or Unison.

To ensure that we only deduct pay for those taking part in industrial action your Head of Department or Division will be asked to submit a list of those UCU members participating in strike action in their area on the days notified for the strike action. You will be asked if you have taken part in the action and are required to provide an accurate response. Please ensure that your Head of Department or Division is aware of any planned absences on any of the dates of strike action – 23rd and 28th January and 10th February.

If you are a member of a pension scheme, your union should advise you on the implications for your pension cover if you decide to take part in the industrial action.

I realise that many staff will not wish to participate in this action and I deeply regret having to write in these terms. However, the actions of UCU require us to ensure that we have fully communicated UCL's position to all staff, and I hope that you will understand why it is necessary. Further advice can be found on the HR Website at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/industrial_action.php or can be provided by your HR Consultant whose details can be found at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/consultancy/ .

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Waugh
Director of Human Resources