Bosses at several universities around Britain have threatened to dock a full day’s pay from academic staff participating in the University and College Union’s two-hour strikes.
Bosses at Nottingham Trent University, University of Chester, Dundee University, Oxford Brookes University, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Leicester, De Montfort University, University of Staffordshire, Wolverhampton University, Surrey University and Leeds College of Art all made the threat in advance of the first two-hour walkout, on Thursday 23 January. The UCU has vowed to mount legal challenges to recoup any unlawfully docked pay.
A UCU activist told Solidarity: “We won’t know until February’s payroll if they’ve gone ahead with the threat, but I think they’ll stick with it. They are clearly targeting weaker branches in an effort to scupper the dispute.”
The next two-hour strike was due as Solidarity went to press on Tuesday 28 January. UCU members will join with non-academic staff in Unison, Unite, and members of the Scottish teachers’ union EIS, for a national one-day strike on 6 February, before another two-hour stoppage on 10 February.
The dispute aims to win a better pay deal for Higher Education workers. Unions say the current 1% deal represents a real-terms pay cut. However, many institutions have already begun implementing the deal, and activists are frustrated with the slow-moving pace of the dispute.
Unions struck on 31 October and 3 December, but, despite promises of escalation, have not moved beyond one-day strikes.