Threat to suspend death-in-service benefits

February 10, 2006

Lecturers' unions accused the University College for the Creative Arts this week of trying to "intimidate" lecturers into pulling out of planned strike action, by threatening to suspend their death-in-service benefits as well as their pay.

In a letter sent to staff late last month, Elaine Thomas, the college's rector, says that staff will "not be paid for any work on any day where they do not work normally" as part of the industrial action, which is due to include an examinations boycott.

She asks staff to confirm to her in writing whether they intend to take part in the action.

She warns: "Those who notify us of their intention to strike will technically not accrue pensionable service for the duration of the strike with loss of death-in-service benefits."

This would mean that spouses would lose large lump sum payments if their partners died during any industrial action.

Roger Kline, head of universities at lecturers' union Natfhe, said: "This is an attempt at intimidation by people who ought to know better. Our members will treat it with the contempt it deserves."

The university college declined to comment on the letter.

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