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 breach their contract of employment by participating 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 1/365 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 1/365 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.

If you take part in the UCU strike action between Thursday 20 February and Friday 13 March 2020, the University will withhold 1/365 of your pay for each day you are on strike.

Postgraduate Teaching Assistants who participate in strike action should claim for the hours they were scheduled to work in the usual way via iTrent. The University will make the monthly payment, and include a deduction for the hours the person was on strike. This deduction will be calculated at an hourly rate based on 1/365 of the annual salary.

For strikes in the period Thursday 20 February to Friday 13 March 2020, the University has decided to withhold 50% of pay in April 2020 and 50% in May 2020

(Alternative arrangements will be agreed with any staff members who leave the University before the end of May 2020.)

Immediately on your return to work you should use the report your participation in the strike using the online Strike Action Form in iTrent Self Service. You should do this no later than by 10am on the first day of your return to work.


Partial Performance of contractual duties (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 1/365 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%.

The University reserves the right to withhold pay while you are participating in the action short of a strike. However, the University will be reasonable and proportionate in the way we approach the withholding of pay for anyone who is participating in action short of a strike. We know that as a community we all share a deep commitment to student learning.

If you participate in the UCU action short of a strike from Monday 25 November 2019 and you complete the priority activities following the timescale set out in the email sent from your Pro-Vice-Chancellor (for academic colleagues) or from the Registrar (for Professional Services colleagues) on Thursday 5 December 2019, the University will not withhold any pay for breach of contract for action short of a strike. This includes the expectation of providing information to your College by Friday 13 December 2019 on the measures you have put in place in relation to these priorities. If you do not complete the priority activities in accordance with the timescale set out in this message, then the University will withhold 25% of each day's pay from Thursday 5 December 2019 until the priority activities are completed. 

The University reserves the right to review its position on withholding pay for partial performance in January 2020 in accordance with the policy above.

 


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 can use its discretion to continue to make its employer contribution: in this case 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 industrial action starting on 20 February 2020, the University have decided that option C will apply. Pension contributions will continue to be paid by both the employee and the employer based on your pay before any withholding of pay due to strike (or action short of a strike). This means that the period of strike action will count towards your pension benefits. The University reserves the right to review this arrangement if further strike action takes place in 2020.


 


Date of this version – 13 February 2020