GUCU advice to members concerning strike declarations

Dear UCU members,

Please be aware that, to the best of our knowledge, there is no statutory time limit on declaring your strike days for pay deductions in UK law. For example, official guidance on pay deductions during a strike, makes it clear that these are matters largely internal to organisations. The law does state that you must declare all of the days that you participated in strike action once the action has been completed, but not how you inform your employer. You are therefore under no obligation to declare all of the days that you participate in the strike in one go.

GUCU’s understanding is that you are able to declare your participation in the strike in one pay period if you wish, but you can also spread it across a number of months and declare one day per month if you wish.

Please also be advised that there is no obligation to use the university HR self-declaration form. GUCU wishes to point out to you that you are able to use a variety of different formats for declaring strike days. You can use any of the following in any combination:

  • A letter posted in the internal post
  • An email
  • A postcard
  • The HR form.

Please be further advised that you are under no obligation to send your strike declaration to the email address indicated on any message from HR. You can also send your declaration to:

Please be aware that you are protected in law from taking legitimate industrial action. This means that you cannot suffer in your job as a result of being involved in strike action; you cannot face dismissal, disciplinary action or a detriment to your conditions of service, so long as you are participating in legal strike action, which you are.

Please also note that Goldsmiths’ policy on ‘Managing  Strike Action’ makes clear that: ‘Goldsmiths’ aim is to foster good working relationships with our recognised trade unions and does not seek to prevent or deter our staff from taking part in trade union activities.’

In line with dignity and good industrial relations, SMT and UCU have agreed in previous disputes to have strike deductions made over a number of months, to exempt ALs from deductions on the basis that it is particularly cruel to hit hardest those least well off, and that is it very difficult for the institution to determine which ALs have been on strike and which ALs have been unable to perform their duties because full-time colleagues are on strike.

SMT has previously recognised that financial hardship amounts to a deterrent in taking strike action, which is at odds with institutional policy.

We are therefore suggesting that members consider declaring in the ways outlined above until SMT agrees to:

  1. Deduct salaries over a period of months (in line with many other institutions) and not a single month
  2. Exempt Associate Lecturers from pay deductions
  3. Provide assurance in writing that salary will not be deducted for participation in ASOS (which, after all, means working to contract)

In solidarity

GUCU Executive