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17th February 2014

MMU staff stage full-day strike over ‘unlawful’ pay dock

Strike action has had “little or no impact” at most universities and protestors should focus on negotiating better pay deals for the 2014-15 period, says UCEA

Lecturers from Manchester Metropolitan University staged a whole-day strike after being told that they would lose a day’s pay if they took part in the recent two-hour strikes.

Continuing strike action by members of the University and College Union in response to a “miserly” one per cent pay rise has resulted in employees of both MMU and the University of Salford being told they would be docked a day’s wages for the two-hour stoppages, despite University of Manchester staff only having two hours’ worth of pay taken away.

Manchester Metropolitan University’s Human Resources department messaged staff stating, “If there is evidence that you have participated in the strike on January 23rd then we will deduct a day’s pay on account of you having taken industrial action,” and that any work undertaken on that day would be considered as voluntary.

The University of Salford issued a statement that said anyone “who participates in two-hour strike action will be committing a breach of their contract of employment.”

Staff from a total of eleven Higher Education institutions from across the UK walked out for an entire day in response to this rule, while most universities continued with two-hour strikes.

The one per cent pay rise for employees of Higher Education institutions has lead to a 13 per cent decline in income in real terms according to UCU members, and so far a total of six full-day or two-hour strikes have been held to protest against this treatment.

According to the General Secretary of the UCU, Sally Hunt, a two-hour strike should only result in a two-hour pay deduction.

“Their hard line, aggressive action is designed to frighten us into not exercising our democratic right to strike,” she said.

The Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association said that strike action has had “little or no impact” at most universities and that protestors should focus on negotiating better pay deals for the 2014-15 period.

UCU Scotland Official Mary Senior said that similarly affected staff were “furious at how they have been treated.

“We will be launching a legal challenge to recover money we believe has been unlawfully deducted.”


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