Pension update 16.11.14

Talks on Thursday produced a joint statement from UCU and UUK negotiators.


UCU Higher Education Committee will vote on whether to accept the statement proposals on Wednesday 19th.

If accepted, the boycott would be suspended and no pay deductions would be made for action taken.  A number of negotiating meetings both formal and informal would be held between now and January and actuaries from USS, UUK and UCU would meet to discuss the valuation criteria.


At UEA we had scheduled an extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday 19th to debate a motion considering a move to strike action as a result of UEA’s 100% pay deduction.  This meeting will still take place, and the boycott remains in place until Wednesday.



Pensions dispute update

Report on general meeting coming soon.


Discussion of the tactics of some university management teams:

It was good to see in Concrete that the Students Union is formally supporting the strike.

Letter of support for UEA staff in Thursday 13th Times Higher from former colleagues.

ASOS Diary

Amanda Williams, acting President of UEA UCU is keeping a diary while taking part in the marking boycott.


A very busy day today, one of the modules I look after teaches 500 students and has a teaching team of 7 people and I had some bits and bobs to sort out for that. I was meant to be chairing a teaching practices forum but we had a speaker in for a GM today from the UCU national negotiating team so a colleague stepped in to chair instead.

Off to meet the national speaker for the UCU GM (who had had to tangle with the London to Norwich trains which were running late/cancelled. Sometimes it’s has felt quite lonely being a branch committee out on a limb on the pointy end of a national industrial dispute and the feeling that Norwich is out on a limb was exacerbated by the trains.   The meeting was the first general meeting I have chaired and was a bit of a baptism of fire. Feelings were running understandably high. We will soon need to have some elections for the committee as we have a lot of casual vacancies at the moment (which I forgot to mention in the meeting). Hopefully the level of engagement we saw in the meeting yesterday will be reflected in getting lots of people to put themselves forward for nomination into committee and officer roles. We need to harness all that energy for the good of the members of UCU at UEA. And we need to put in all the legwork to get a EGM for next week.

After that back to normal so a couple of meetings about UCU casework, a meeting with a colleague about their teaching practice and a meeting with my head of group about one of my big modules.



So in work today, not getting paid – well probably, maybe? I don’t have any assessment activities scheduled until the end of the week. Busy day today. I took a seminar about leases and financial instruments, had a couple of hours of “office hour”. I’ve taught 700 students this semester so office hours can get quite busy. I also took a couple of lectures today and attended a university committee as the UCU representative.


The actions started officially last Thursday and all last week was quite busy behind the scenes, with a lot of letter writing and email drafting going on. I worked about 60 hours (including the weekend) and expect to get paid for just Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; since I got dropped into the post of Acting President for the local UCU branch at the start of October, 50-60 hour weeks have been pretty typical. Other people have been busy writing letters or Facebook postings. I was sent a link to a Facebook page which a UEA student had written and the support of the student body and individual students is brilliant.

UCU UEA marking boycott

The full details and guidance from UCU head office about participating in the action is available on the UCU website here


As you know UEA has threatened to deduct 100% pay from people taking part in the marking boycott.  However, they have confirmed (UEA access only) that “pay will be withheld from the date which a colleague informs the University is the date on which action has been or will be commenced. It will not be retrospectively deducted from staff who begin action at a later date.”

You don’t need to inform management of your intentions ( you may not even fully know them yourself) but once the marking boycott has started you need to answer truthfully if you are asked whether you are taking part.  Please see suggested wording on the UCU website.

If you decide to join or leave the marking boycott once it has started you should inform your manager when you change your mind.


If you are taking part in the boycott please keep the following information:

  • What information are your managers asking you for in respect of the marking boycott?
  • Please check your November payslip and let us know whether or not your pay has been withheld.  If it has been withheld we will send you some instructions about commencing grievance procedures.
  • Keep a copy of your payslip.
  • Keep a record/diary of what you are doing at work over the course of the marking boycott – hours worked, broad activities undertaken.  Also,  keep notes if you are specifically directed to perform work. While it is admittedly unlikely that much would turn on it, there is some evidence in the case law that where that happens, an employer might be said to have displaced or negated its own previous assertion that all work was voluntary and that partial performance would not be accepted – such as to justify making a 100% pay deduction
  • Please let us know if the university either gives you instructions to carry out your work or prevents you doing your normal work, for example by cancelling teaching sessions, or getting colleagues to cover your teaching sessions.