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Email to staff 24 November 2021

Dear colleague 

As you may know, the University and College Union (UCU) has notified the University that it is calling its members to take both strike action and action short of a strike following ballots on both the USS and pay and conditions. 

You will appreciate that we do not know which of our employees are members of UCU and therefore it is necessary to write to all staff in preparation for the industrial action. 

What action is the UCU calling for? 

The action is composed of strike action and action short of a strike. 

The strike dates notified to us by the UCU are Wednesday 1, Thursday 2 and Friday 3 December 2021. 

UCU has also called for continuous 'action short of a strike' from 1 December 2021, in the form of working to contracted hours and duties and not volunteering to do more.  

How we will manage this action 

In his email to staff of 5 November, the Vice-Chancellor explained that we are reliant on UK negotiations to try to resolve the pensions issue and some aspects of the pay dispute. However, he went on to say that the University is committed to continuing to work collaboratively with our local UCU branch and to build on the work we’ve done so far to improve employment conditions for all of our staff. We recognise the strength of concerns over pensions, pay and conditions and that a vote for industrial action has not been taken lightly. 

However, our immediate priority must be to minimise the impact on our students who have already experienced significant disruption over the last 18 months. We will follow the University's established policy on managing industrial action. We will monitor the likely impact of action being taken and work with departments and students to develop contingency plans to minimise disruption. 

If you plan to take part in the industrial action 

While we are entitled to ask staff if they intend to participate in industrial action, we recognise that staff are not obliged to notify us until the action commences. We would therefore be grateful that you notify us as soon as possible and no later than your first day back at work after the period you participate in strike action by completing the online form. You will be asked whether you wish to continue to make pension contributions in respect of days when you are on strike. I would also advise you to refer to the information on pension contributions and pension benefits on the staff web pages in the event of participation in strike action. 

We need to make you aware of the consequences of taking part in industrial action. Following University policy, this means: 

Strike action: we will withhold a day's pay (1/365th of salary) for each day you participate in strike action. 

Action short of a strike: if your actions do not constitute a breach of contract, then your pay will not be affected. However, the University does not accept partial performance, and we expect staff who are at work to prioritise essential work and comply with the obligation to work in an efficient manner. We will monitor the nature of action being taken and, if we consider that there is a failure to undertake reasonable duties, we reserve the right to withhold pay. The exact response to any level of action, including the right to withhold pay and the amount of pay that may be withheld, will be considered when the specific detail and likely impact are known. 

Pay will be withheld for strike action over the December and January payrolls. This is intended to ease the financial losses over the holiday season. In order to spread deductions this way, we will require all notifications of industrial action to be submitted no later than 10 December 2021. If strike participation notifications are received after this date, all deductions will be made in the January payroll.

You can find more information and FAQs on the industrial action web pages but if you have any questions, please contact us at

With best wishes, 

Sophie Thompson

Interim Head of HR Operations


Contact us

If you're a member of staff taking part in industrial action, please contact HR if you have any questions:

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Contact us

If you're a member of staff taking part in industrial action, please contact HR if you have any questions:

Use this email address for any other enquiries: