Dear Unite members
As you know we took 2 days of Industrial action before Xmas in an attempt to get a better pay settlement. However this as of yet has not happened and so I attach an email from our National Officer on where we go from here? Please respond to me by this Thursday evening / Friday by 1000 at the absolute latest, so I can collate our responses for the National Committee. The options before us are highlighted in yellow near the bottom of the email! The options in essence are:-
- 1 day strike on the 6/2/14. 2. 2 or 4 hour strikes. 3. Withdraw from dispute.
It is essential you read the email carefully before letting me know your response.
I am writing to you for clarification from our members in University establishments to determine how or if we carry on pursuing the dispute on pay within Higher Education.
I will set out the issues and discussions that were discussed at the National Sector Committee on Thursday 16th January 2014 as well as a follow on conference call on the afternoon of the 20th of January 2014.
A full debate at the National meeting on 16th January took place. A motion was put forward that 1 day strikes were not being effective and that 2, 3, or 4 hour strikes may be affective (partial stoppages).
A motion was voted on to continue the dispute in some form with partial stoppages being an option, (UCU had already announced 3 x 2 hour stoppages 23rd January 2014, 28th January 2014, full day’s action 4th or 6th February, and a further 2 hour strike 10th February – not ideal that UCU had gone forward with this, without letting other unions know, but we are where we are).
After this vote was taken, a realisation that the employer was liable to stop a day’s pay in partial performance, even if the action was only a partial stoppage was raised.
The National Officer was asked to go away and seek advice from Unites legal team. As well as from UCU asking what advice UCU were giving their members on partial stoppage and partial performance.
The advice from Unites legal team was not conclusive as there is no case law to match this up with. The feeling from Unites solicitor was that the employer could deduct a full day’s pay.
However if Unite was to take the route of partial stoppage, the employer must notify Unite and members that the employer would be deducting a full day’s pay.
It should be noted that Legal advice to the employers is that legally they may be able to deduct a full day’s pay – however they should take into account what the tactical consequences might be by the TU’s in escalating the dispute.
This is the same advice that has been given to UCU.
Our sister unions are Unison, UCU, EIS.
- Unison are taking 1 days action on the 6th February 2014.
- UCU are holding 3 x 2 day partial stoppages as part of Industrial Action, plus 1 days action on the 6th February 2014.
- UCU are contemplating their Action Short of a Strike ASOS
- EIS will be balloting their members for ASOS, plus 1 days action on the 6th February 2014.
Currently Unite are not involved in any of the above. However they could be if our members are still willing to take action.
Colleagues the National Officer has been tasked with contacting you by a letter to all branches, that branches carry out a rough and ready consultation with Unite members by any means, i.e. email, branch meetings, telephone, or face to face conversations.
There are 3 proposals for members consideration.
- Advising the National Sector Committee to reconsider its vote to now take full day’s action on the 6th February.
- To continue in pursuance of the dispute partial stoppages (bearing in mind the advice given earlier in the email).
- That if none of the first two proposals be taken then Unite will withdraw from the pay dispute leaving the 3 other Unions to stay with the dispute.
Colleagues I need to know our course of action by the latest Friday 10.00 am 24th January 2014, please email your Branch Secretary with your responses.
There will be a further telephone conference of the National Sector Committee on Friday 24th January 2014.
Colleagues I know that this is short notice, however Unite need to act quickly on this.
With best wishes,