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Taking action in higher education

University of Westminster threatened with industrial action over failed pay deal

25 June 2009 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU today warned the University of Westminster that it could face industrial action over its failure to deliver three years' worth of back pay owed to staff.

The union said the move leaves the University of Westminster as the only institution in the UK that has failed to deliver a clear agreement on back pay when implementing a pay agreement thrashed out in 2006.
The university has written to all staff to tell them it will be imposing the new pay deal, known as the Framework Agreement, but will not be paying the money owed in back pay. The union is advising members not to sign up to the 'offer' and warned that the university's actions would further damage relations with the union following recent redundancies in the computing and ceramics departments, and planned job losses in the integrated health department.
It also accused the institution of breaking the terms of an agreement where the university had promised to give the union seven days' notice if it intended to impose any changes to staff pay and conditions. The university told the union about the letters to all members of staff two hours after the letters had been sent. As well as advising its members to reject the offer, the union has called on the university to suspend the roll out of the new contract and come back to the negotiating table.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'I have written to staff at the university to offer my support for the campaign. Their fight is of national significance. The University of Westminster is the only institution that has failed to deliver the back pay from the national Framework Agreement, and has no right to hold this money back from our members. It also had no right to write to the staff informing them of the changes it will be imposing on their pay and conditions.
'I sincerely hope the university wakes up to its responsibilities and immediately suspends any attempts to impose the new deal on staff. Failure to do so will inevitably harm the relationship we have with the institution and leave us with no alternative but to explore all options available to us, including the possibility of industrial action.'