University of Exeter Policy on withholding of pay during industrial action

Taking part in industrial action is a breach of your contract of employment.

The University is entitled to withhold pay of staff who participate in industrial action, whether in the form of strike action or action short of a strike.


Strike action

In the event of a strike, the University will withhold 1/260 of your annual salary for each day of strike action. The University will not re-instate any pay which has been withheld once the employee resumes their full contractual duties.

In the event of a strike of less than a whole day's duration, the University reserves the right to withhold a whole day's pay (ie 1/260 of your annual salary). However, at its discretion, the University may decide to withhold a smaller sum for any specific strike without prejudice to its right to withhold a whole day's pay for any subsequent strikes of less than a whole day's duration. The University will not re-instate any pay which has been withheld once the employee resumes their full contractual duties.

Partial Performance (action short of a strike)

The University will not accept the partial performance of the contract of any member of staff. This means that if you decide to take part in action short of a strike by refusing to undertake part of your contractual responsibilities, you would consequently not be entitled to your contractual pay from the date when you started to participate in the action.

The University's policy not to accept partial performance means that if you breach your contract of employment by refusing to fulfil your contractual duties in full then the University reserves the right not to pay you for any other work you voluntarily choose to do while participating in the action short of a strike.

Where such a breach of contract does occur the University reserves the right to withhold 100% of pay, at a daily rate of 1/260 of annual salary, and to continue to withhold pay until the employee resumes their contractual duties in full. The University will not re-instate any pay which has been withheld once the employee resumes their full contractual duties.

However, based on an assessment by the University of the impact of a specific action short of a strike, the University may decide to withhold a smaller sum, proportional to this impact, for a specified period, without prejudice to its right to withhold 100% of pay for any subsequent action short of a strike. The specified period will be determined by the University based on an assessment of when the continued action short of a strike will begin to have a very serious impact on students and the University. At this point in time the University would then withhold 100%. If, during the specified period of time when a smaller sum was withheld, the action short of a strike escalated and the impact seriously increased, the University would then withhold 100%.


Pensions Issues

In cases of a strike (or action short of a strike) where a whole’s day’s pay is withheld, this may lead to a loss of pensionable service for each day of the strike.

This means that the University is not obliged to pay pension contributions where pay is withheld for participating in a strike of one or more days' duration.

For each instance, the University will exercise its discretion whether to apply one of the following options (and notify employees in advance of the action):

(a) the employee can choose to pay both the University and employee contributions for each day of action, but they must notify this to the employer before the action takes place. This will mean that the day(s) of industrial action will count towards pensionable service.

(b) alternatively, the employee can elect not to make up the University and employee contributions for each day of action – in which case the day(s) of industrial action will not count towards pensionable service – but they can choose to pay a charge for maintaining their death in service benefits. Again, they must notify the University of this choice before the industrial action commences.

(c) the University may continue to make its employer contribution and the employee will continue to make his/her contribution. This will mean that the period of the strike will continue to count as pensionable service.

For the UCU strike action on 25 and 26 May 2016, the University has decided that it will continue to make the employer contribution and the employee will continue to make his/her contribution. 


 


Date of this version – 19 May 2016