Following concerns raised by the campus unions (UNISON, Unite and UCU), the University has now issued a revised guidance in regards to the staffing of Open Days that take place on Saturdays.
The initial advice from the University suggested that staff members’ terms and conditions allowed for the University to compel staff to work at weekends with the context of a reasonable request. This was strongly contested by the unions who believed otherwise, based on the framework agreement that is the basis for employer/staff relations at the University.
The original guidance seemed to threaten disciplinary action to those who refused a request to work. The threat of disciplinary action should not be used to secure attendance. However, there are types of behaviour that might warrant such action:
- Unreasonable behaviour, as defined by the University Disciplinary Procedure, exhibited in response to a request to attend open days.
- A refusal of a reasonable request to attend an open day.
- Non-attendance at an open day without notice or good cause.
UNISON, Unite and UCU stood together to make clear that any work required outside an employee’s standard working week should be considered as working on rest days, and that staff should be incentivised and well-compensated for volunteering, rather than work under the threat of disciplinary action.
We are pleased with the shift in the employer’s approach to change. The revised guidance now offers: childcare, free parking, enhanced time off in lieu for grades seven and above and a choice of enhanced time in lieu or overtime rates for grades six and below, in addition to making arrangements if needed for staff with protected characteristics.
Please contact us if you have any concerns.