We are disappointed that the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) has announced a marking and assessment boycott. Negotiations have not yet reached the point where there is a final proposal for the source of the dispute – reform of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) – and there is an opportunity for all to engage in proper negotiation and discussion. This action will impact primarily our students and it is being taken on an issue where, as one of 240 participating employers, we have no direct influence over outcomes. The University is acutely aware of the importance of this matter to members of the USS and has made its position on matters clear and transparent through publication of our response to employer consultations and through the holding of a meeting of the Assembly. We have formed a Sub-Group of the University Council to provide an independent view of matters, especially around some of the technical aspects of USS reform, and have given members a very early opportunity to comment on proposals as they emerge.
We very much hope these factors will be taken into account before members of UCU decide to take industrial action. As members of UCU are aware, the University does not recognise partial performance of contract and therefore has the right to deduct 100% of pay for the period when we become aware that a member of staff is taking part in this action. We have no desire to enact the full penalty at this juncture, and will, in the first instance, deduct 25% of pay for the days when individuals tell us that they are taking or have taken action, or we are told that individuals are taking action. Clearly our longer term response to this dispute is contingent in part on the impact it has on our students.
Download the University’s process for self declaration and statement on pay here. Self-declarations forms should be sent to the payroll department, in line with the guidance.
As in the past the University intends to operate as normally as possible. Heads of Departments will, as ever, use their common sense to respond to any particular issues that arise so as to minimise any adverse impact on students.
Professor Stuart Croft, Provost and Ken Sloan, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer