Last week the University and College Union (UCU) branches across the country voted to reject a deal offered by the UUK involving concessions to lecturers who stand to lose hundreds of thousands of pounds from the value of their pensions.
Among the complaints the offer generated, was the demand that lecturers reschedule any teaching lost to the strike. Discontented members of the UCU made their voice heard through the #NoCapitulation hashtag on Twitter.
As a result, the strike continues. Now more than ever, the role of ASOS, or Action Short of a Strike, is in the spotlight.
“Other universities have gone even further – taking 100% of lecturer pay”
Action Short of a Strike relies on lecturers essentially doing more than they are contracted to do. When lecturers fulfil their contract but do not go above and beyond that – consider volunteering for open days, covering for sick colleagues, or rescheduling lectures lost to the strike – that is considered ASOS.
Some universities, such as the University of Sheffield, have announced that they will deduct 25% of teaching staff salary if missed lectures are not rescheduled. Other universities have gone even further – taking 100% of lecturer pay.
If lecturers do what they are contracted to do, but do not do anything “extra”, the university retains the power to take 25%, or more, of their pay. This has now proven to be a contentious issue, especially among teaching staff.
One lecturer asked: “How many jobs can you think of where you can be docked pay for doing what you are contracted to do (and no more)?
“Action Short of a Strike relies on lecturers essentially doing more than they are contracted to do”
“In a way, it proves that universities assume (and operate on the basis that) we routinely do more work than we are paid to do.”
Regarding ASOS, UCU General secretary Sally Hunt said: “Universities that wish to exploit the law and punish their staff as much as possible are storing up problems for the future and risk prolonging the dispute.
“Action short of a strike highlights just how much universities rely on the goodwill of their staff who go the extra mile. Universities will need that goodwill when this dispute is all over, so it seems foolish to find ways now to maximise the punishment of their staff.”
More strikes are expected in the future as no agreement has been made.
For more information about what the strike is and updates click here.
If you want to read a statement from the University of Nottingham over the rejected USS pension dispute, then you can read their statement here.
Featured image courtesy of Kristina Kiminiute
Follow Impact News on Facebook.