For Staff

Industrial action

Questions and answers (UNISON action)

These questions and answers have been developed to help all colleagues and we’ll update this page as needed throughout the industrial action. If you have a question that is specific to your personal situation please speak to your manager, who will consult with HR if necessary. 

Page last updated: Friday 17 June 2022 

Professional behaviours at the University 

The University respects the right of eligible staff members to take part in the strike action. We ask that all staff work together to address issues underpinning the action and continue to follow the University’s Code of Conduct on Professional Behaviours during this period. 

About industrial action 

1. Who is taking part in industrial action? 

Members of the trade union UNISON may choose to take part in industrial action. UNISON mainly represents Support Staff. We know that approximately 20% of Support Staff at the university are members of UNISON and not all members will choose to participate in the industrial action.

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2. What action is being taken and when will it happen? 

Five days of strike action are planned, on Monday 20 to Friday 24 June 2022.

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3. Will there be picket lines and what should I expect? 

On a strike day it is possible that there may be picket lines. Picketing must be conducted peacefully and respectfully and will not prevent people from attending work. 

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4. What should I do if I choose not to cross a picket line? 

If you are not a member of UNISON you must let your line manager know if you are not working because you are choosing not to cross a picket line.  

If you choose not to cross a picket line, you will be recorded as ‘absent’ and deductions from your pay will be made.  

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5.  I am not striking but working from home on a strike day – is this allowed? 

If you are not participating in the strike action, then you can confirm with your manager whether it is still appropriate to work from home or not. Any new requests to work off campus on days of strike action must be made to your line manager and will be considered carefully. Technically, anyone who does not work without a legitimate or pre-agreed reason will be considered to be on strike. 

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6. If I do not participate in industrial action but would like to take annual leave on a strike day, is this allowed?  

Any annual leave that was agreed before the action days were announced is not affected.  

Any new requests for annual leave on days of strike action will need to be submitted through the normal request process, prior management approval obtained and will be considered carefully. 

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Participating in industrial action 

7. What do I need to do if I participate in industrial action? 

We respect your right to take part in the strike action and we need to make every attempt during this period to keep our students and staff informed.  

We ask (but cannot require) you to advise us in advance if you intend to participate in any of the strike dates.    

If you take strike action, you must inform your line manager no later than 5pm on Friday 1 July 2022. 

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8. Do I need to tell my manager if I take strike action? 

You are not obliged to tell your manager beforehand, but you are required to do so upon your return to work, and in any case no later than 5pm on Friday 1 July 2022.

You should also respond truthfully if you are asked whether you have taken action. Please also see:  

  • Question 9, ‘How do I register that I have participated in industrial action?’    
  • Question 10, ‘When do I need to register my participation in industrial action?’

9.  How do I register that I have participated in industrial action? 

Cleaning staff

When you return to work after participating in industrial action, you need to inform your line manager of the dates that you participated. 

All other UNISON staff members

If you are on campus, you can access Employee Self Service (ESS) directly. Read our guidance on how to record industrial action dates through ESS

If you are not on campus, then you will need to log onto the Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) to access the Employee Self Service portal. Guidance on using the Windows Virtual Desktop is available from IT. If you experience technical difficulties, then please contact IT who can support you.  

You are required to complete the reporting yourself. Please do not contact HR to log your participation. 

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10. When do I need to register my participation in industrial action? 

It is important that any participation in industrial action is logged as soon as possible following the strike period. The deadline to record participation for the period of 20 to 24 June is 5pm on Friday 1 July 2022. Please following the instructions in question 9 and follow our guidance on how to record industrial action dates through ESS

If you cannot make these deadlines, then please speak to your line manager.  

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11. If I work 5 over 7 and my rota day is on a strike day, can it be changed?  

Any new requests for changes to rota days must be submitted through the normal request process and prior management approval obtained. Requests will be considered carefully. 

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12. My shift pattern spans two calendar days and one is not a strike day. What should I do if I choose to participate in the strike action?  

Sunday 19 June is not a strike day. Therefore, if your shift starts on the Sunday you are required to attend work as normal for this part of your shift. If you then choose to participate in the strike action on Monday 20 June, this can only start from 12 midnight for the remainder of your scheduled working hours.   
If this applies to you, you will receive your normal pay for the shift hours that you work on the non-strike day (Sunday) and deductions will be made for the hours scheduled to have been worked on the strike day (Monday).  

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Pay deductions for participation in strike action 

13. How is pay deduction calculated if I take part in strike action? 

1/365th of your salary will be deducted for each day of strike action. The same calculation will be used for full-time and part-time staff. For part-time, the actual hours due to be worked on a strike day is used to ensure that the lower full-time equivalent (FTE) is reflected in the deduction calculations. 

14. Will pay be deducted for strike action be repaid if the work missed through strikes is completed? 

No. Any pay that has been deducted due to industrial action will not be repaid.  

14a. When will deductions be made?

Deductions for participating in strike action during the period 20 to 24 June, will be made in July 2022 pay. 

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Pensions, death in service and ill health 

15. Will my pension contributions be affected if I take part in industrial action? 

Yes. Both employer and employee pension contributions will be reduced proportionately to the pay deductions. 

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16. Can I make up my pension contributions if I take part in industrial action? 

Yes, you can make up the missed pension contributions if you choose. The cost of this will depend on how many days you were on strike. 

For further information on pension contributions, please contact  

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17. Will I be covered for death in service and ill health during participation in industrial action? 

Yes, providing the total period of absence does not exceed 31 days, members will continue to be covered for death in service and ill health retirement even when employer and member contributions are not maintained during the industrial action. This cover will not require additional contributions from the employer or member.

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Line managers of cleaning staff

18. How do I report my cleaning staff member’s participation in industrial action?   

When a staff member has reported their participation to you, you will need to complete an MS Form on their behalf. The Form for recording industrial action (link to follow) will be submitted automatically to the HR Operations team who will input the participation information on to the SAP system. Your staff member must report their participation to you by a set deadline. 

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19. What information do I need to collect from my staff? 

The MS Form includes the staff members’ name, personnel number, dates of participation in strike action and hours scheduled to work on each strike date.

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20. As a line manager, do I need to retain this information? 

The MS Form submission to HR will enable the correct recording in SAP. You must not keep a record of individuals who participated in strike action. If you have any questions, please speak to your HR representative. 

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21. What should I do if I need to change an MS Form submission after I have sent it? 

If you need to amend a submitted form, please Email the mailbox with the new information. 

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22. How should I respond if my staff member asks about confidentiality of their participation in industrial action and the submission form? 

It is appropriate for line managers to collect this information needed for payroll in instances where colleagues do not have access to log this on the system directly. The information is transferred securely to the HR team who then register it on the staff SAP record. The MS Forms database and SAP system are both protected by secure access rights.

The right of the University to collect and process this information is covered by the Staff Privacy Notice

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23. What information is available to students? 

The University will be doing all we can to minimise any impact on student education and the wider staff population who are working on campus.  

A dedicated webpage on the For Students website is available with answers to common questions students may have. This web page will is updated as required. 

The University is committed to taking actions to address the concerns raised. Please read the message and watch the video from the Vice-Chancellor on the eve of strike action and the email from the Vice-Chancellor, Maintaining focus and community cohesion

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