This is general information that covers a lot of the issues related to strike action. If you have any specific questions then the Branch.
What does taking strike action mean?
Strike action means not doing any work for all of the days specified. This includes, for instance, any activity which is part of your work such as teaching, administration, meetings, emails relating to work, marking, research or conferences where you are directly or indirectly representing the University of Liverpool.
Do I have to confirm I am going on strike before the action begins?
No. You do not have to tell your manager or anybody else whether you plan to take industrial action in advance of the date when action begins. UCU has already provided management with all the information about the action required by law including those categories of members who we are calling on to take action. Strike action must be recorded in Core HR after strike action. The current deadline for this is Wednesday June 16th by 5pm but if there are any changes to this we will make sure it is communicated.
When do I have to confirm I am going on strike?
Apart from recording your strike action in Core HR there is no need to confirm to a manager that you are taking strike action during the action. During strike days you will not be checking emails or writing emails so there is no need at all to confirm this.
You may wish to set an out of office during the strike action though which could confirm you are taking strike action. Please set the following out of office for the period of strike action – Monday 24th May – Friday 11th June:
“I am taking strike action to defend the jobs of my colleagues who face the threat of redundancy in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.
Please support staff whose livelihoods are in danger by writing to the following members of the University Senior Leadership Team demanding these redundancies are withdrawn:
- Vice Chancellor Dame Professor Janet Beer email@example.com
- Executive Pro Vice Chancellor Health and Life Sciences, Professor Louise Kenny Louise.Kenny@liverpool.ac.uk
- Pro Vice Chancellor for Research, Professor Anthony Hollander firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pro Vice Chancellor for Education, Professor Gavin Brown email@example.com
If you are a student please also read this document about why we are taking strike action.”
How will I know if an offer has been made to resolve the dispute?
Updates related to the dispute will be provided at the daily virtual picket and the strike page of the website will also be updated for if we have to hold a meeting to discuss any developments so please keep checking regularly.
Will there be strike pay?
Yes. UCU’s national officers have approved strike pay for staff who take all strike days based on the following:
- Payment after third day of action
- Daily maximum of £50 for members with earnings up to the top of the F3 subscription band (£29,999.99 per annum);
- Daily maximum of £25.00 for members with earnings of £30k or more per annum
- Payments up to a maximum of 11 days for this round of strike action.
Support will also be provided to hourly paid staff who may lose work as a consequence of taking strike action and strike pay will be made based upon your normal working patterns.
In addition to the national fighting fund we also have a local strike fund. Ever since our dispute began donations have been flooding into this including recently a £1,000 donation from Scotland’s UCU exec and £500 from University of Newcastle UCU respectively. Our local fund will prioritise precariously employed staff, lower paid staff and those who need to meet essential living costs but all members who take strike action are also able to apply to the local fund as well as the national strike pay and we have a group of members who will be regularly reviewing and processing applications to ensure you can be supported in taking the necessary action to defend jobs.
I am an hourly paid lecturer/GTA – can I go on strike?
Yes. GTAs with employee status are covered by employment legislation and employment protections that guarantee your right to strike just like all other member of staff.
GTAs with employment status were balloted and therefore we would expect you to take part in all of our strike days and action short of a strike. Obviously we recognise that because of the precarious nature of your employment you may be placed under more pressure than members who are on permanent contracts. If you or your colleagues feel any pressure at all in this regard then do please let us know immediately and we can provide advice and support. GTAs with employee status need to make sure they have Standard Free membership in their My UCU.
If you are undertaking teaching or demonstrating duties as part of your studentship you are not an employee and are therefore not entitled to strike under law. However, as a UCU member you may wish to show solidarity with your union members and refuse to undertake some of the teaching and/or assessment duties associated with your studentship during strike action. As a student no action should be taken against you as a consequence of this. If you feel under pressure as a result of your solidarity then please contact the branch immediately.
I am working on a visa – does this affect my right to strike?
No. UCU won important protection for staff on visas so that they could take lawful strike action without affecting their visa status. Under immigration rules, if you are on a Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa your decision to take strike action should not affect your rights or your ability to apply for indefinite leave to remain. UCU has produced a detailed briefing which explains your legal rights if you are a staff member or student on a visa.
I am booked to be on annual leave during the strikes – what should I do?
It is recommended that you cancel your leave and record strike action. To be eligible for the national fighting fund you have to have taken all of the strike action we will be taking so holidays could impact on that. This will likely primarily impact ARPS members and the branch will also be seeking to provide support locally if your cancelled leave cannot be retaken or carried over to next year’s leave allowance if you can provide evidence of this to the branch when applying to the local fund.
Can I take strike action if I am furloughed?
Yes. On any days that you are not furloughed then you should take strike action. If you are furloughed for your full working pattern then you cannot take action as you are not working.
Will participating in strike action affect my entitlement to statutory maternity pay (SMP)?
You are entitled to SMP (subject to fulfilling the other statutory requirements) if you have been continuously employed for 26 weeks ending with the week immediately preceding the 14th week before the expected week of confinement (EWC). The calculation of continuous employment does not, however, include any week during which you participate in strike action. So, if you take strike action and have worked for your employer for less than 26 weeks up to and including the 15th week before your EWC you will lose your right to SMP. If you are in this situation, please let us know immediately.
I am on study or research leave during the strikes – what should I do?
If your leave is unpaid, then you have no labour to withdraw and cannot join the strikes. If your leave is paid you should join the strikes.
I am a research fellow fully funded by external bodies and don’t want to undermine strike action. What do I do?
It depends upon who your contract is with. If it is with the University then you should join the action. If your contract is with a body who is not part of the dispute you should not take action. If you have any questions about this then get in touch.
Can the University deduct my pay when I take part in industrial action?
Yes, the University is entitled to deduct your pay if you participate in industrial action.
- Staff members whose working hours are spread evenly across a 5-day working week work (i.e. working an equal number of hours each day) should record the date(s) they took action, and are not required to record the specific numbers of hours they would otherwise have worked on each day – deductions will be calculated automatically by CoreHR as 1/365th of salary for each day of action.
- Staff members who work different hours on different days across the working week, and/or those who work less than 5 days in the week whether full or part-time, will be required to specify the actual hours they would otherwise have worked on the day(s) they took strike action, to ensure accurate deductions.
If you are an ARPS member who works different hours on different days and you feel this could impact you in any way then the local branch fund will look to provide additional support to enable you to take industrial action.
I am not a member of UCU, if I join can I then take part in the action?
Yes, you can join UCU at any point in the strike and you will be able to participate in the action with the protection of the union as soon as you are signed up. While non-UCU members have the legal right to participate in strike action at their workplace our strong recommendation is that you join UCU so you have the protection of a trade union before you join the action.
To join visit ucu.org.uk/join