As reported at our General Members’ Meeting on 15 January 2020, the BUCU Committee requested a meeting with HR to discuss spreading strike payments. We were informed that:
“the University will not smooth strike pay deductions since it is an individual’s decision and not that of the University to take strike action”.
(source: email from Head of HR, 24 January 2020)
We raised with the University the potential equalities impact of not smoothing strike deductions over multiple months (in short, as there is a substantial gender and ethnicity pay gap at Birmingham, it is likely that BAME and women members will be disproportionately affected by this action and this may be discriminatory). The University informed us that they will be carrying out an equality impact assessment of strike pay deductions which they will share with BUCU. We will, in turn, share this with members.
The University also indicated that they can help individuals who experience hardship in addition to UCU’s own local and national hardship funds. To access this support, members should contact their local HR representatives.
Reporting your strike days
We recognise that not all members have control over when and how their strike days are reported. We recognise this is particularly acute for members working on visas. Any member who is experiencing hardship due to strike deductions can get in touch with the BUCU Committee who have committed to helping these members in particular (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
The UCU, as a national union, advises that:
Once the industrial action has begun and you are back to work following the strike action you should respond truthfully to any query from your employer as to whether you have taken or are taking industrial action. You should not, however, respond to any such query while you are on strike.
We note that members are not obliged to report via a particular route (e.g. New Core) or by a particular date.
There are payroll cut-off dates at Birmingham each month. This means that anything reported to the University after that month’s cut off date will apply in the following month.
Upcoming payroll cut-off dates:
9 March 2020
5 April 2020
4 May 2020
Below, we set out some possible scenarios for reporting strike action.
- A member reports their strike days on their return to work on 27th February (5 days), 6th March (4 days), and 16th March (5 days). This would result in nine days deducted from March pay, and five days from April pay.
- A member reports on 27th February (5 days) and 16th March (9 days). This would result in five days deducted from March pay and nine days from April pay.
- A member reports on 27th February (5 days), 16th March (4 days) and 6th April (5 days). This would result in five days deducted from March pay, 4 days from April pay, and 5 days from May pay.
As stated above, members should be truthful about whether they have been on strike but are not obliged to report via a particular route or by a particular date. For example, members can report via New Core, by email, or in writing via the internal mail. Members can direct their report to their Head of Department, Head of School, the Head of HR or a local HR representative.
If reporting via New Core, this guidance may be helpful. The University has advised members to report only select working days for this absence as selecting dates spanning over weekends may result in incorrect salary deductions.
If you have any queries about the information on this page please contact the BUCU Committee.