Docking bungle stings workers not strikers

April 14, 2006

Union leaders hope that the complexities of calculating how much pay to dock from boycotting academics may prove too much for managers after an administrative bungle by Bradford University meant that striking staff were paid while those who showed up for work were penalised.

Bradford this week confirmed that it had not only failed to dock a day's pay from members of the Association of University Teachers who took part in the strike on March 7, it had also accidentally withheld pay from staff who worked normally.

A university spokesman admitted that there had been a "mix-up". He said:

"There was a situation where some non-union members had pay deducted wrongly because it wasn't made clear who exactly the absent members of staff were. This situation will be remedied in the April pay run."

The AUT said that Bradford's "cock-up" demonstrated the difficulty vice-chancellors faced in fulfilling their threats to dock pay.

It is standard practice to withhold a day's pay for a day's strike, but many vice-chancellors have warned that they will dock part of a day's pay from anyone carrying out only some of their contracted duties.

The difficulty is in deciding how much to dock. This can be calculated accurately only if universities know exactly who has been boycotting and to what extent.

Sally Hunt, the AUT's general secretary, said: "The events at Bradford show how difficult the process of pay docking is.

"Universities should be spending more time negotiating and less time trying to devise schemes to penalise staff who are taking part in lawful industrial action."

Meanwhile, Bradford's director of human resources this week warned staff that the university's previous promise not to withhold pay for the action short of a strike, was to be reviewed.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

John McEnroe arguing with umpire. Tennis

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman explain how to negotiate your annual performance and development review

Man throwing axes

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald