A number of issues are emerging that we would urge all members to be aware of:
We have had reports that despite having notified the University of their intention to participate in strike action by completing an HR form, members are now being accused of failing to do so, which would be an offence under TU legislation.
The form in question was entitled “notification of participation in industrial action”, and some members reasonably assumed that in completing this form their duty to inform has been discharged.
HR however insist that this form was, despite its title, merely a means of ensuring that pension payments could be maintained by staff who wished to do so, and in doing so “protecting rights such as death in service”.
This implied loss of rights has little basis in fact. There is no obligation to do so before participation and we suspect was merely a fishing trip to draw out as many declarations of intent as possible to allow for some damage limitation.
The act does not prescribe the means of notification, and whilst the LA was content with the on-line post participation means of informing, other channels may have been employed (such as speaking to a line manager, sending a letter to HR or the Vice Chancellor) that we contend still meet the obligation.
We would urge the University to desist from accusing members of breaking the law and instead take a closer look at their own broken and ineffectual HR systems.
Members are beginning to see the effects of their participation in strike action in recently issued pay packets. Feedback from those on compressed hours’ arrangements indicates that their deductions have been in excess of the 1/365th per day of strike.
We contend that this is contrary to the Apportionment Act and the recent Supreme Court ruling on this matter. None of the current contracts make provision for a deviation from that ruling, and as a consequence we would advise that ONLY 1/365th per day of participation is legal.
Swift action by the LA has resulted in an immediate climb down and in the case of at least one member the refunding of what was a not insignificant sum.
We are also aware of at least one instance of pay deduction not quite matching the 1/365th calculation even though the member is on a standard full time contract. In simple terms the maths appears to be incorrect, and we would therefore advise all staff to do their own calculations rather than trust in the University.