Strike for USS - update on pay deductions and UCL's online strike recording system

9 March 2018

We are writing to advise colleagues in more detail following our earlier interim advice not to use the UCL online strike recording system.

We thank colleagues that have written in with concerns and examples of UCL emails.

We have written to Human Resources (HR) and the Provost raising five objections to the current system and the communication around it, specifically that:
  1. In communications, UCU members have been targeted, whereas all staff are permitted to strike;
  2. The system does not comply with Data Protection and anti-blacklisting legislation;
  3. The system does not collect sufficient data to permit Payroll to perform pro-rata deductions in cases where employees work other than a 7.3 hour day;
  4. In communications, the implications of recording ASOS on the system are contractually unclear, cannot lead to pay deductions at the present time and serve no good purpose; and
  5. In communications, the obligations of staff toward completing the form have been misrepresented (it cannot be a 'reasonable management request').

What should members now do?

Staff could submit information to their manager in the form of a table listing the dates on strike plus either (a) the number of hours they were on strike or (b) the proportion of the working day they would normally work.

However, until such time that UCL can demonstrate it has procedures in place to process pro-rata deductions appropriately, then, on the evidence of the web-based system it is likely that Payroll will have exactly the same problem.

We are concerned that by asking HR to review the system we are in effect asking HR and Payroll not to process pay deductions in March. We realise for many colleagues who were budgeting accordingly, this is an inconvenience. However the consequences of errors will be significant, especially given the high level of participation in the strike, especially among part-time staff. But the costs of getting this wrong will be significant for colleagues. The risk of excessive deductions being made is simply too great.

Therefore our advice to UCU members and non-members alike is to comply with your legal obligations. Please answer the question truthfully when asked by your manager regarding participation in the strike. On dates when you would normally work a standard working day where a 1 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) deduction would be appropriate you can state this. On all other dates you should either indicate the number of hours that you worked, or the proportion of 7.3 hours (1FTE) that this represents.

We are asking UCL HR to review the entire system before processing any deductions.

Finally, please accept our apologies for the delay in progressing these concerns: we have been on strike too!