LECTURERS are threatening to take legal action over the decision by management at a Scottish university to dock a full day’s pay for taking part in a two hour strike today.
Members of the University and College Union at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen will walk out between 11am and 1pm today as part of national dispute over pay.
But union leaders have revealed that, despite UCU members working as normal before and after the two hour strike period, RGU management have issued a letter to staff, warning that they will deduct a full day’s pay for the two hour hour stoppage.
Dr Lesley McIntosh, the RGU UCU branch secretary, said the walk out was part of a national strike which will affect academic institutions across the UK and that most employers were only deducting two hours pay from staff taking part.
And she declared: “This is outrageous behaviour by RGU management who are escalating the dispute and are not willing to pay staff for the work that they will perform. They are also refusing to put any monies deducted to the student hardship fund, which we find astonishing.
“Staff here at RGU are aghast at this inflammatory decision by RGU management. Already some institutions are reversing their decision and are now only deducting two hours pay. We are asking RGU management to reconsider their draconian pronouncement and to follow suit.
Ms McIntosh added: ”The strike is part of the ongoing national pay dispute where staff have seen a real terms pay cut of 13 per cent over the last four years despite there being a £1 billion surplus in the sector. In contrast, University Principals have been awarding themselves around eight per cent pay rises.”
A spokesman for Robert Gordon University defended the decision.
He said: “RGU’s primary duty is to minimise any impact on our students resulting from industrial action whether now or in the medium to longer term, especially given UCU’s stated objective to disrupt classes and related activities, which would include assessments and exams.
“We have therefore reminded staff of the university’s position that partial performance of contract on any strike day is not acceptable and that any attendance on that day would be deemed voluntary. As a result we will withhold a full day’s pay.”