(updated April 2020)
After much negotiation, the University have agreed to spread deductions over the two months of June and July 2020 for UCU members who individually record through Success Factors all undeclared days of strike action by Wed 6 May 2020.
The University have also responded to our concerns about the security of SuccessFactors. We have received assurances that Success Factors was not part of the recent security audit and not a site where the university was shown to have significant security weaknesses. We have also received assurances that strike declarations will only be used in “the legitimate interests of the University to make and retain the record of the withholding of pay together with the reasons in order to defend any claim of an alleged failure by the University to discharge its contractual obligations regarding payment to staff” and that “personal data we process is held and stored securely and only those colleagues with a legitimate reason to access such data do so.”
Whilst we are disappointed that the University has only chosen to spread deductions across two months, where other institutions have chosen to do so across several months and in some cases even agreed not to deduct in recognition of the need for everyone to come together during the Covid-19 crisis, we are pleased that the University has finally conceded that they are able to spread out deductions and have chosen to do so.
(updated March 2020)
Warwick UCU members have raised numerous concerns over the use of SucessFactors to record and store information about strike participation.
The committee have discussed these at length with the University and were told that there are only a limited number of individuals with access to this information and that the system is secure.
However, it was recently acknowledged that “the University has some significant information security weaknesses that we have to address” (UoW 2020), with no further details provided about which processes and systems are currently at risk.
On this basis, Warwick UCU remains concerned, and therefore recommends that:
· Members do not voluntarily declare strike participation in any form, and under any circumstances, until further notice.
· If asked directly whether you have been on strike by a representative of university management, the law requires you to respond truthfully, but no time frames or methods are legally specified. Therefore, you might consider constructively by asking the following questions:
a. On what basis you have been chosen to respond directly about your strike participation. Any such requests by an employer should be made on the basis of concrete evidence or an appropriately randomised method, to ensure there is no scope for retribution, bullying, discrimination, etc. You should ask to see evidence that supports any subsequent explanation, e.g. a copy of an unambiguous ‘Out of Office’ statement that the university has seen, a copy of any testimony that you have not discharged your duties, etc.
b. What concrete reassurances can be provided that the university is able to store information about strike participation securely, given its prior admission of security weaknesses.
We will update you if our position changes.
(updated December 2019)
We’ve been receiving reports that some line managers are emailing members on behalf of HR asking that they complete a self-declaration form or use Success Factor. We want to make clear that you should not use the University of Warwick self-declaration form.
Having withdrawn your labour for 8 days in Weeks 9 and 10, you are legally required to state this truthfully if asked by your employer. Hourly paid tutors and contract workers will have a different procedure for reporting their participation in industrial action, which we outline at the bottom of this post.
Because university management has refused UCU requests to smooth deductions over more than one pay period, as many other universities have done, we suggest that you do the following:
– Declare only one day at a time. There is no legally defined time limit to declare participation in industrial action. Stagger any declarations over as long a period as you like (e.g., once a week for the days you went on strike, hence taking 8 weeks to declare).
– Use as many different communication channels as possible. There is no legally required means to declare. Send your notices to a variety of legitimate representatives of university management: your line manager, the Head of Human Resources, the VC, etc.
– Communicate in ways that are difficult for the university to administer. Some suggestions include:
- Send an email without text, but containing information in an image form (you can hand-write and take a photo with your phone, then attach the file)
- Consider password protecting the file as a security measure; do not send the password unless you are asked
- Leave the subject line of your message blank, or label the communication without revealing its contents
- Send handwritten communications via internal mail.
For each day you report, make sure to ask that your lost wages be donated to the student hardship fund, and state that you would like to continue with your USS contributions for those days.
If you are an STP tutor, however, please declare in advance as your contract requires you to do so (as explained in the Warwick UCU FAQs for casualised staff).
The advice from the branch for STP tutors is: 1) declare that you are striking in advance, but as late as possible (e.g. only on the morning of the day that you are due to teach, or the evening before) by emailing email@example.com, putting in blind copy firstname.lastname@example.org; 2) do not fill in the HR self-reporting form even if you are asked to by the STP team; 3) do not declare ASOS as it does not apply to hourly paid staff.
If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to let us know!