The UCU at Glasgow Caledonian today announced their regret at the GCU management’s decision regarding forthcoming industrial action, which threatens to massively increase the disruption faced by students at GCU.
The union had informed management that there will be a strike for exactly 2 hours, between 11 – 1 on Thursday 23rd January. Staff during this time are invited to attend an extended coffee/tea break in the Student Association bistro, after which they will return to their work, fulfilling their contract as professionals.
Unfortunately HR have informed all staff that those who participate in this and return to work ‘will be regarded as working in a voluntary capacity’ and will not be paid for the hours they work.
Said Douglas Chalmers, President of the local branch of UCU “this is hard to believe – management are trying to prevent staff from going about their normal work, outwith the two hours they are on strike for fair pay. I cannot see the logic of the management actions – which will only increase disruption to students – and we extend our sympathy to students who will be effected by these management actions.”
In a letter to the university Vice Chancellor, Michael MacNeil, National Head of Bargaining and Negotiations at UCU stated that :
“Our legal advice is that this strike action does not constitute partial performance as suggested by your message from the university, and nor is it action short of a strike: it is in fact a complete withdrawal of labour for the duration of a legally convened strike. It would be perverse, unreasonable and disproportionate to treat a two hour strike as partial performance, particularly when taking into account the additional disruption which will affect students”
He went on to inform the Vice Chancellor that if this action was carried out, the union would immediately instruct our lawyers to take legal action on behalf of its members to challenge the punitive pay docking, plus would have no alternative but to call further strike action for whole rather than part days, and adds “I am sure that students will be baffled that because of the response to our limited action, they will now face complete days of action”
Referring to the letter from HR in an earlier e-mail to all UCU members at Glasgow Caledonian, UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt stated that “While its intention is clearly to intimidate…. what kind of institution responds to a legal strike by locking staff out for the day, especially when they know this will increase disruption for students?”
The view of the UCU branch is that staff should not be intimidated by the messages from management at GCU and that we need to show our support for the campaign and for the future of Higher Education in Scotland and the UK by standing firm. The gap between ordinary staff and senior management, not just in pay, but also in many other aspects of the job, is growing wider and wider. This impacts not just on the financial wellbeing of staff – it also impacts on the general wellbeing of staff and upon our self-respect and dignity at work. In turn this impacts on the service we are able to deliver to students and so on the student experience.
Thursday 23rd 11 – 1pm Strike Tea and Coffee break. Student Association Bistro
Please speak to your colleagues so that you can buddy with others as you walk out at 11am and make your way to the Bistro.