BUCU work to contract instructions

As you are aware, on the basis of a 77% mandate, UCU began national official industrial action on Monday. As this is official action it comes with legal protection against attempts by employers to undertake disciplinary action.

The first phase of this action is work-to-contract.

Birmingham University UCU have now confirmed at an all-members’ meeting that any performance evaluation schemes going beyond the negotiated Staff Development Review (SDR) constitutes a new performance management regime that has not been agreed to by BUCU and therefore goes beyond our employment contracts. UCU members are therefore instructed as follows:

Any performance evaluation of any UCU member at the University of Birmingham that goes beyond the negotiated Staff Development Review (SDR) should NOT be participated in (either as reviewer or reviewee). Importantly, this includes both any new performance management scheme that might be called something like ‘Performance Development Review’ or ‘Personal Best’. It also includes the Research Development Review taking place across the University, and ‘capabilities’ sections that have been introduced in certain parts of the University. No UCU member should either act as a reviewer or agree to be reviewed by any scheme other than under the contractual Staff Development Review, as part of the work-to-contract action.

The University have been informed that action beyond the SDR is outside of staff’s contractual obligations and that UCU members will therefore not be participating in them as part of the official national work-to-contract action.

We advise all UCU members to reply to any requests to undertake either the Research Development Review or the ‘capabilities’ section of SDR with the advised responses attached.

Any problems associated with these actions should be immediately reported to BUCU.

Please note that if any employer chooses to ignore UCU’s legal advice and threathens punitive deductions against staff who are working to contract, UCU’s response will be to (a) halt the working to contract action and bring forward with immediate effect rotating departmental/faculty/site or unit-based strike action, as agreed with branches; (b) bring test cases on behalf of all members to recover any deductions made unlawfully. In extreme cases where this escalation fails to persuade an employer not to make unfair deductions for working to contract, members will be invited to seek an international academic boycott of their institution by other staff.
BUCU will be in contact with members shortly regarding further instructions associated with the ongoing industrial action.
Pressure thus far has led to employers returning to negotiations.

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