Lecturers are angry

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UNIVERSITY lecturers union UCU warned yesterday that they will take any university management to court if they dock a full day’s pay from their members during Thursday’s two-hour strike.

The University College Union (UCU) said in a statement: ‘Any university that tries to dock a full day’s pay from staff taking two hours’ strike action on Thursday would face a legal challenge and an escalation of industrial action at their institution.’

The union issued its warning as 11 universities sent letters to staff threatening to take a full day’s pay from anyone involved in the first of a series of two-hour walkouts.

The institutions threatening to withhold a full day’s pay are Nottingham Trent University, University of Chester, Dundee University, Oxford Brookes University, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Leicester, De Montfort University, University of Staffordshire, Wolverhampton University, Surrey University and Leeds College of Art.

UCU said that universities who dock a full day’s pay would cause greater disruption for their students, and accused them of penny-pinching and bullying.

The UCU said, ‘By refusing to pay staff, or allowing them to work all day on Thursday, there will be a full day’s disruption, rather than the planned two hours between 11am and 1pm.’

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘Any university that tries to dock a full day’s pay for a two-hour walkout will face a legal challenge from us and an escalation of strike action, as well as risking considerable damage to their reputation for fair play.

‘Perversely, any universities that do dock a full day’s pay will ensure far greater disruption for their students, which suggests the approach has nothing to do with the welfare of staff or students and is based around penny-pinching and bullying.

‘Any kind of disruption is always a last resort but, after five years of pay suppression with members 13% worse off in real terms, we want a fair deal.’