FAQs SRUC Dispute & Industrial Action

 1. Why are we in dispute?

2. What will the offer mean in real terms for me?

3. What is the current rate of inflation?

4. What have we done about it?

5. What do the Employers say?

6. How many days will we take Industrial Action for?

7. Will we get strike pay if we do eventually go on strike?

8. Do I need to confirm or tell the SRUC that I will go on strike?

9. Does the strike action or action short of a strike interrupt my continuity of service?

10. What would I do on a strike day?

11. What if I’m sick or otherwise on leave on any strike day?

12. Can I still join EIS and take part in the industrial action?

13. Could I be exempted from strike action?

14. Could I be dismissed by taking part in industrial action?

15. What is involved in taking action short of strike action?

16.  What is the effect on pay of taking action short of strike action? 

17. What is the legal position on industrial action?

18. What about the students?

 

1. Why are we in dispute?

We are in dispute on two elements current pay and the pay grades at SRUC.

First, we believe members have worked incredibly hard in very difficult circumstances this last year and should be paid accordingly. Furthermore, pay in SRUC is lower than in other HEIS and even FE Colleges. Our pay claim sought a non-consolidated award on top of a 2% uplift in recognition of this unique year. The current offer comes nowhere near this. It can be viewed in full here: SRUC Pay Offer 2020-21 (eis.org.uk)

The second element we are balloting on is regarding the pay grade levels for academic staff at SRUC.  Not only does the SRUC pay well below the sector norms, different academics get paid different amounts as there are around pay scales in operation as a legacy of the SRUC merger.  In order to tackle this, and to harmonise the pay structures between the merged institutions, a pay and grading exercise has been repeatedly promised. This has not materialised, and no implementation date has been offered or agreed. For every month this is delayed, many of our member lose out on receiving sector norm pay, and we do not believe that to be fair or sustainable.

 

2. What will the offer mean in real terms for me?

For this year, the offer would mean that you would receive only the annual uplift increase on your salary, backdated to August 2020.  To see the most up to date offer, please click this link:  https://www.eis.org.uk/SRUC-Consultative-Ballot-On-Pay/SRUC-Pay-Offer-2020-21

 

3. What is the current rate of inflation?

The rate of inflation in August last year was 0.5%, however in May 2021 it reached 3.3% (Trade unions use RPI as the measure of inflation as it includes mortgage costs).

 

4. What have we done about it?

Extensive negotiations have taken place with the employers but we still have no clear plan for the implementation of a new grading structure agreed, and crucially no date by which members can expect to have this implemented in their pay packets – or even a start date for the implementation.

 

5. What do the Employers say?

The employers say they can’t afford to increase the annual pay offer and they also say that they will implement a pay and grading review. However, they’ve said this before and no progress has been made. We now require a proper plan for implementing a pay and grading review, along with an implementation date for members to see the money (with a guarantee of backdating if that date is missed).

 

6. How many days will we take Industrial Action for?

The stronger the action the shorter the strike will be. The industrial action is for one day initially and will escalate as outlined in the ballot paper, until a resolution is reached. Your support for the strike strengthens our hand in negotiations!

The industrial action will also include action short of strike action and this will complement the strike action planned.

 

7. Will we get strike pay if we do eventually go on strike?

Yes, as this is a local strike, the EIS will pay strike pay. Information on the hardship fund and strike pay can be found here: ULA Hardship Fund & Strike Pay (eis.org.uk)

 

8. Do I need to confirm or tell the SRUC that I will go on strike?

No. The EIS notifies employers that our members are taking action; individuals are not required to do so. The EIS does not share a membership list nor a list of names, simply the number of staff per campus (i.e. workplace). You have no obligation to inform your employer of your intention to take part in the industrial action – even if you are asked.

 

9. Does the strike action or action short of a strike interrupt my continuity of service?

No a strike does not interrupt your continuity of service.

The Employment Rights Act 1999 provides that continuity of employment is not broken by industrial action (s.216 (1) and (2)).  Contractual rights which are unaffected by industrial action are salary placement rules, qualifying periods for maternity and adoptive leave, sick pay entitlement, and service to acquire permanence and service for compulsory transfer purposes (as agreed locally).

 

10. What would I do on a strike day?

EIS will form a plan for the strike day and ask members to undertake specific actions. This can include pickets, and demonstrations or rallies.

 

11. What if I’m sick or otherwise on leave on any strike day?

The SRUC may ask you for medical evidence for shorter sickness absences if these coincide with strike days.

If you are on maternity, paternity leave etc. then you are not expected to participate in industrial action. If you are shortly planning to take maternity or other leave please contact your Branch Secretary for advice.

 

12. Can I still join EIS and take part in the industrial action?

Yes, as long as you are eligible for EIS membership and as long as your fully completed application form with direct debit mandate has been received by EIS HQ prior to you beginning to take action. You can join now by visiting www.eis.org.uk

 

13. Could I be exempted from strike action?

Exemptions are normally only granted in exceptional circumstances, for example in the case of a pregnant lecturer whose maternity rights might be negatively affected by taking strike action.

 

14. Could I be dismissed by taking part in industrial action?

If your employer dismisses you for taking part in industrial action which complies with legislation within 12 weeks of the start of the action this would be unfair dismissal and the EIS would support you.

 

15. What is involved in taking action short of strike action?

Action short of strike action in this dispute involves the following different actions:

Withdrawal of goodwill; including but not limited to:   

  • Refusal to carry out work during breaks including lunch and tea breaks.

  • Refusal to work outside contracted hours including email and other online activities

  • Not covering for absent colleagues beyond that which is required by the contract of employment.

  • Refusal to enter assessment results. 

 

16.  What is the effect on pay of taking action short of strike action? 

Action short of strike action is a form of industrial action.  Action short of strike action can constitute a breach of contract which could lead to on-going salary deductions.  

If the employer does make pay deductions, then the well-established trade union response to such an aggressive employer is to move to a ballot for strike action.

In the SRUC case we already have a mandate for strike action that we could escalate.

 

17. What is the legal position on industrial action?

There is no right to take industrial action in UK law. However, there is statutory protection for trade union members who take industrial action.

However, protection for individuals who take part in official industrial action is set out in the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidations) Act.  Under (TULRC)A, s.238(A)2, any employee dismissed in the first 12 weeks of industrial action for taking industrial action shall be regarded as being unfairly dismissed if the strike action is protected (i.e. lawful).

 

18. What about the students?

Going on strike and action short of strike action are always a last resort, and we know that any industrial action impacts on our students.  In the long-term, students benefit from the defence of education and professional standards that the EIS provides.

The EIS has met with student reps to discuss the dispute and industrial action and the reasons for it, and to ask for their support.  





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