Queen Mary UCU branch is fighting a local dispute over a policy of 100% pay deductions for participating in ASOS. Having secured its highest ever mandate in March, staff have now been engaged in a marking boycott for nearly 10 weeks since early May. In negotiations management have yet to offer any concrete proposals that might settle the dispute.
Last week, senior management decided to impose 42 days of pay deductions on staff participating in the marking boycott split across July and August. This comes in addition to deductions already taken for strike days. Management is clearly trying to break the boycott with these renewed threats. But staff will not be cowed or starved back to work. At a branch meeting following these threats, members overwhelmingly voted to continue the boycott until the policy has been withdrawn by management. The policy marks QMUL management as vindictive outliers given no other branch is facing these 100% deductions. Nevertheless, the situation at QMUL has national significance as this management policy is being trialed elsewhere in the sector; UCEA have directly recommended this tactic to universities, also claiming that the ‘moral position’ of employers in using it is ‘robust’.
Implementing these deductions would be punitive, disproportionate and legally dubious. QM UCU therefore needs the solidarity and financial support of other branches to help us to sustain the action throughout the summer.