We have received notification from the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) that they are calling on their members to take 18 days of discontinuous strike action during February and March 2023 in relation to the New JNCHES 2022-23 pay award and USS disputes. The first date of strike action has been confirmed as Wednesday 1 February 2023. Action short of strike in the form of working to contract has been ongoing since 23 November 2022.
The issues underlying the industrial action are complex. Essex has limited influence over the outcome of the national collective bargaining pay processes or decisions about the USS pension scheme, although we participate in consultations for both. The national pay increases at Essex are supplemented by increments and the annual review process, and we have spoken out in the past about the value of defined benefit pension schemes. In June this year, as part of a dispute resolution, we issued a statement on USS pensions based on detailed discussions between the Essex USS Pensions Officer and the Registrar and Secretary. Work is also continuing with the joint working groups which have been set up to consider actions to address our equality pay gaps (gender, ethnicity and disability), decasualisation, and Workload, and the task and finish group established to recommend actions that might go some way to address the challenges of the cost of living crisis.
For each day an individual participates in strike action, the University will deduct 1/365th of their salary.
For employees who are not employed on a full time or a full-year contract, a pro rata calculation will be used to apply the 1/365th deductions based on the number of calendar days in the year that they are contracted for. If you work on a part time contract or work for part of the year and are unclear what your strike deductions would be, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please notify us of any strike action you are taking via HR Organiser using the 'logging strike action' instructions (.docx).
Working at home on strike days
Staff can work at home on strike days if this is what would normally happen on that day. In cases where individuals work both on campus and from home, if they are required to work on campus on strike days their manager will need to inform them of this in advance . If you manage people who are working at home on any of the strike days, you may wish to confirm on each day whether or not they are on strike to prevent any misunderstandings .
The University will continue to maintain their normal pension contributions throughout the strike action. This will mean it is based on your normal pensionable salary prior to any deductions for strike action. The University can only do this if the member also maintains their contributions during this period.
As the University employs Assistant Lecturers, the guidance for participation in strike action also applies to them. If you are unable to work because a class is not taking place, but you were available to work then you will be paid your normal day . If the class is cancelled, there may be other ways to support student-learning outcomes. Staff should be advised to speak to department administration staff to discuss alternative options to support student-learning outcomes.
Compliance with the visa working requirements is paramount during this period. If any teaching or other work is to be rescheduled then consideration needs to be given to visa holders to ensure any additional work does not fall outside of their allocated visa restrictions on hours worked .
Any additional hours allocated must still fall inside of their weekly hour restrictions, there can be no exception to this rule . Any hours unworked from the previous week cannot be utilised the following week. The restriction is placed on a week-by-week basis
If you have any questions relating to the information contained within this page please contact email@example.com