Last week, UEA announced that it will deduct 100% pay from staff who participate in the UCU Marking Boycott on April 28th. From thereon, any teaching or administrative work that they carry out during this period, would be considered as voluntary, and not paid.
We believe this to be a concerted act of intimidation and a disgraceful attack on the rights of staff, as they take action to achieve fair pay.
UEA states that these “contingency plans” are being made “in order to minimise the potential impact on students.” However, it is clear that this action will do entirely the opposite.
The UCU have repeatedly pressed that it would rather have the dispute resolved as quickly as possible without disruption to students’ work. Now, Universities across the UK, including UEA, are locking staff out entirely. Certainly, it is likely that this will only further disruption, ultimately serving to drag out the dispute, and increasingly disgruntle underpaid and undervalued staff.
This is a clear tactic of intimidation that has been ordered to all Universities by the national employer UCEA – and our university has followed suit. Indeed, there is no end date for the boycott. This means that UEA is effectively threatening to remove staff pay for an indefinite amount of time; a clear sign of the university’s unwillingness to negotiate a fair deal and end the dispute.
This comes as a harsh blow to staff and students, and it is vital that we stand together.
We condemn this recent announcement and challenge UEA to respect the democratic rights of our staff and to pressure UCEA to meet the grievances of UCU and its members.
Please email our Vice Chancellor, Professor Edward Acton at firstname.lastname@example.org before tomorrow’s next meeting between national negotiators. Here is our draft message:
“Dear Professor Edward Acton,
It has come to my attention that the University will be deducting 100% pay from staff that participate in the UCU Marking Boycott on April 28th. I believe this to be a deeply unfair attack on the rights of staff, which will only serve to drag out the pay dispute even longer. Furthermore, this is likely to cause greater disruption to my academic progression.
UEA states that it is seeking to minimize the potential impact on students, and hopes that the dispute will be resolved before April 28th. It is clear to me that for a fair pay deal to be reached as soon as possible, students, staff and universities must stand together. UEA should not be intimidating staff with the threat of pay removal, and undermining their fight for fair pay. The University should be lobbying UCEA to ensure a decent settlement is made in the upcoming negotiations on April 15th, before any further disruption is caused.
As a student at UEA, I demand that you reconsider this recent announcement, respect the democratic rights of staff, and pressure UCEA to meet the grievances of UCU and its members.