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Staff to be paid £0 for their work – VC and Council threaten valued staff

March 31, 2011


UCU members across the country must now consider ‘Action Short of a Strike’ as part of the process of putting further pressure on the employers to come to the negotiating table – something so far that only UCU are prepared to do.

‘Action Short of a Strike’ involves union members refusing to participate in a small part of their usual work. In the past, we have seen assessment boycotts, for example, where union members refuse to assess work or – where it is assessed by non-member – process it.

At Leeds, 82% of voting UCU members voted in favour of ‘Action Short of a Strike’ (ASOS) in support of pensions in the earlier ballot.

So far the union has not decided what action it might take under ASOS locally – this is to be decided by members. Certainly, an assessment boycott might be mooted by members, but also a boycott of the SRDS (the staff review process) or other administrative process that the University relies upon might be discussed. We will also value consultation with students on this issue.

Michael Arthur, our VC, is contemplating paying nothing to any member of staff who undertakes ASOS – that is to say, a member of staff who teaches, who acts as a personal tutor, who gives feedback, who takes part in welfare support for students, who gives careers advice, who researches, who undertakes large administrative duties, is to be threatened with being paid absolutely nothing for doing these things if they undertake their legal right to withdraw a small percentage of their labour as part of a protest that over 8 in 10 people have requested. This is how valued the staff at your University are.

University Councillors – most of whom support a refusal to come to the negotiating table –  today will decide upon this proposal: “Strike action, or action short of a strike, constitutes a breach of contract and will lead to pay being withheld.”

In UCU we are not surprised by bullying and blackmail of this order. Will our students tolerate it?

In the past, staff taking ASOS have been threatened with losing a proportion of their wage. Do you tolerate this coercive threat, when compared to these managers’ previous decisions?

There is a protest planned today at 4pm, meeting outside LUU and walking to the Ziff, in protest at Council’s plans to rubber stamp the £9k fees Leeds will charge. Already, the University management have got level 13 of the Ziff locked down by security staff, with VCEG members now working behind well locked doors. Is this the behaviour of people who believe they have the moral high-ground?

University of Leeds

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nick permalink
    March 31, 2011 11:48 AM

    A vindictive act of bullying.

    If it intimidates staff into not taking action, it will have done its job – at the cost of further alienating the people who are the lifeblood of this university.

    If staff take action anyway, then this measure may prove counterproductive, as it will remove the incentive to do any work during the period of dispute. The university as a whole will lose out as a result.

  2. Jill permalink
    April 19, 2011 7:16 AM

    Not very nice! I think I might send the VC a bill for all the extras hours I have put in over the years I have worked here. Why do employeers think bullying will work? Without its staff this university would be nothing.

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