Nearly 200 staff joined a branch meeting on Wednesday to discuss the response to the management policy of 100% deductions for ASOS. Members voted overwhelmingly not to work under the threat of 100% pay deductions; to call for five additional local strike days; and set the timeline to meet again at the end of this month to determine the next steps. You can read the full motion below.

The Senior Executive Team (SET) of Queen Mary, headed by the Principal Colin Bailey, has refused to withdraw the policy of punitive deductions for ASOS. This means staff who take part in industrial action will be asked to reschedule teaching that was cancelled due to the strike. If they refuse to do this, the university has said they will deduct 100% of their pay until they agree to reschedule the teaching. The university has also directed line managers to deduct 100% of pay if staff removes any materials related to classes that will be or have been cancelled due to the strike. Further, the university has also promised to deduct 100% of their pay if staff refuses to cover for absent colleagues. The pay will be deducted on a daily basis calculated as 1/365th of pro rata annual salary.

The SET of Queen Mary has taken one of the most punitive stances on ASOS across the Higher Education sector in the UK. Members expressed strong support for a collective response in order to protect staff against any selective application of the policy. The meeting was joined by the President of UCU, Vicky Blake; the Head of Bargaining, Organising, Campaigns & Education, Jon Hegerty; and our Regional Official, Barry Jones. The message from your national officers was clear – you have their full support for escalating the dispute in response to the punitive deductions policy at QMUL.

The additional days of strike action are likely to be announced very soon. We will be in touch with full guidance about your rights when taking action according to this motion, and will consult widely ahead of the next major decision at the meeting to be held by 28th Feb.

Ways to get involved!

  1. Sign up to join the pickets! Fill out this form to indicate your availability. The pickets start already next week on Monday.
  1. Join the strike committee (the meeting link has been sent to members via QMUCU newsletter)
  1. Arrange a meeting of colleagues in your department.
  1. Talk to your students (use these slides) and direct them to ways they can help.

In the following days we will publish further guidance on how to help as a student or alumnus of Queen Mary. We will also publish a template motion that other UCU branches can pass to direct their members to resign as external examiners of Queen Mary.

Motion on escalating QMUCU’s response to 100% deductions for ASOS

Passed 9th February; 89 in favour, 22 against, 10 abstentions

This branch notes

  • The branch resolution passed on 3rd February.
  • The subsequent refusal of Queen Mary management to withdraw the policy of punitive deductions for Action Short of a Strike (ASOS).

This branch resolves

  • To refuse to work on any day where management has threatened to deduct 100% pay for ASOS.
  • To request that UCU’s national officials declare five additional local strike days at Queen Mary on 23rd-25th February and 3rd-4th March 2022 in furtherance of the national trade dispute.
  • To meet again by Monday 28th February if the threat of punitive deductions has not been withdrawn to consider a further resolution on taking indefinite strike action from 14th March 2022.