Principal Sally Mapstone has confirmed that the University’s policy on ASOS has changed and lecturers will now receive pay if they fail to reschedule cancelled classes due to strike action.
The news came on Monday morning in an email to all staff and students of the University of St Andrews.
The Principal said, “Having considered all matters in the round, I believe that our current policy to deduct pay at 100% for failure to reschedule classes cancelled due to strike action is inconsistent with this University’s values and the store we place on our shared sense of community.”
The Principal specified that this policy was in place to “minimise disruption” to students during industrial action, and staff were aware of this before the UCU strikes began in February.
She continued, “I believe that in our current circumstances the policy itself is unfair and clearly counter-productive, and I am sorry for the distress it has caused to our staff, students, and alumni. I have accordingly asked our HR Department to amend our ASOS policy with immediate effect, to make it clear that pay will not be deducted for Action Short of a Strike in this regard.”
This policy change comes after the UCU warned on 1 March that universities who threatened pay deductions from striking staff could prolong strikes, which included the University of St Andrews at the time.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said, “Universities that wish to exploit the law and punish their staff as much as possible are storing up problems for the future and risk prolonging the dispute. … Universities will need that goodwill when this dispute is all over, so it seems foolish to find ways now to maximise the punishment of their staff.”
The warning on 1 March also mentioned St Andrews, stating that the University of St Andrews informed staff that “it will deduct 100 per cent of salary for any form of action short of a strike.”