Industrial Action by University Staff (1314P22)

Status: Lapsed | Zone: Education

Passed: 14/05/2014 | Lapsed: 14/05/2014

This policy was discussed at the following meetings:

  • That in the academic year 2013/14, there was a series of Industrial Action made up of both strike action and a marking boycott.
  • That all of the action in said academic year was subject only to one vote by the University and College Union (UCU) which allowed for industrial action to continue in perpetuity.
  • That between 2001 and 2009 the increases in lecturers pay consistently grew faster and higher than either RPI or general earnings in the economy (http://bit.ly/lectpay).
  • That the salaries of University staff faced a real term cut between the years of 2009 and 2014 (http://bit.ly/lectcut)
  • That action taken by unions such as UCU, Unison and Unite has led to disruption in the student experience due not only to a disruption to timetabled lessons but also due to noise made by vuvuzelas, megaphones and other devices outside the library and other spaces
  • The money brought into the University through teaching (through its HEFCE grant) now outweighs how much it makes from research (through the REF)
  • That policy SUSU and UCU (University and College Union) Strike Action (1112P5) states that ‘subject to Union Council approval, we should support our lecturers and UCU in any industrial action that doesn’t have a severe adverse effect on the student experience and that tries to protect the quality of teaching at Southampton University’
  • That the education provided to our members should consistently be of the highest quality.
  • Those trade unions with a dispute against the University should endeavour to cause as little disruption to students as possible.
  • Industrial action can have a negative impact on the education of our members
  • Strike action is disruptive and depending on the strike this disruption can be either minor or major
  • Assessment boycotts are a severe form of action which have a profoundly negative effect on students
  • Students should be fully informed about the reasons behind disputes and dispute action.
  • The old Policy is no longer fit for purpose.
  • To repeal “SUSU and UCU (University and College Union) Strike” (1112P5).
  • The Union should, on behalf of our members, work with the relevant Unions (UCU, Unite and Unison) and the University to prevent industrial action by gaining a resolution to the dispute. Failing this, the Union should work to focus the impact on University administration rather than on students directly.
    VOTES
    1. Where a relevant Union or Unions vote to support industrial action which will occur at the University, Union Council will first vote on whether or not to support the dispute. This decision is valid for the duration of that academic year, or until the dispute is resolved, and shall not be re-visited during that year. Where a dispute continues over more than one academic year, a separate decision shall be made each year.
    2. Where Council has voted to support a dispute, and industrial action is planned as part of that dispute, Council will then vote on whether or not to support the industrial action.
    3. If Council votes to support industrial action in respect of a dispute then it will support all instances of industrial action throughout that dispute, except if that decision is revisited (see below).
    4. If 10% of members of Union Council want a decision to support industrial action to be revisited, Council will vote again on whether or not to support the action, but for this vote to overturn a previous vote, it must pass with a 2/3 majority.
    GENERAL
    1. Where a vote is to be held on support for either a dispute or industrial action, the vote shall take the form of a motion to be put by the Vice-President Education, in consultation with the Education Zone Committee, who shall choose the form of words that it takes.
    2. Where industrial action is planned to occur before Council can vote, the Education Zone Committee will make an interim decision. Where that action is to continue after the next meeting of Council, Council will make a fresh decision which supersedes that of Education Zone Committee.
  • The Union President and Vice-President Education to be responsible for carrying our Resolves 1.
  • Education Zone Committee to be responsible for taking a lead on informing students about any industrial action. Where support for a dispute or action is given, Education Zone Committee is responsible for publicising SUSU’s support of this action.