Industrial Action - Head of Department Guidance – work to contract by members of UCU
1. Member of staff refuses to carry out tasks for whatever reason, or raises issues that may prevent them from carrying out tasks.Use the following standard approach in all cases (with the template letters in section 4 below):
1.1 If communicated by e-mail – respond via e-mail, state you require them to continue performing their role/activity and invite them to meet with you, if they wish, to discuss further.
1.2 After any meeting takes place, confirm the outcomes of the discussion in writing.
1.3 If the refusal is made verbally in the first instance, state that you expect them to continue with their role/activity, discuss the reasons for their stance and if appropriate confirm your instruction and the outcomes of the discussion in writing.
1.4 If the member of staff does not do as instructed, send a written reminder of your instruction.
1.5 If this is not adhered to, discuss with your HR Partner.
2. Conducting the meeting/discussion
2.1. Probe to understand the reasons behind any statement.
2.2. Discuss how the concerns could be managed by the member of staff (eg doing things differently, re-ordering priorities, planning)
2.3. If appropriate, agree any actions you may be prepared to take (eg. amend project milestones).
2.4. If appropriate, confirm your instruction.
In other words, do what you would do with any member of staff who raises work related issues.
3. Guidance on key points
3.1. Working Hours: Terms of condition for staff on grade 7 and above are not specified. If The Working Time Directive is quoted, it requires employees to work no longer than 48 hours averaged over 17 weeks. Discuss with the member of staff how they can manage their work to achieve this.
3.2. Out of hours/weekend working/attending meetings: In most cases these will form part of the normal requirements of the role, and/or have been done by custom and practice in the past.
3.3. Stress: All claims of potential stress should be treated seriously and you should meet with the member of staff. Someone complaining of work-related stress should be referred to the Occupational Health Adviser (via your HR Partner) as soon as possible. Occupational health, HR and Counselling support are available for all staff. The recent Wellbeing at Work Survey identified areas of stress and follow-up actions continue to be taken.
3.4. Health and Safety: Seek to understand the specific concerns that the member of staff may have and assess what a reasonable response would be. Section 17 of the Safety Manual requires the person responsible for safety in each department to produce formal written risk assessments where significant risks to the health and safety of staff, students, or others have been identified.
3.5. Marking/Exams: Staff are contractually obliged to set and mark work as defined in programme and module documentation including course handbooks and module handouts. Where required, this includes moderation / second marking of work for all modules contributing to Lancaster awards. The return of marked work including feedback should be consistent with the Academic Contact Commitments. Exam questions should be set and submitted on the timescales defined by the Student Registry as per standard procedures. Marks for all summative work should be made available for input into LUSI by the Senate deadline.
Contact yourHR Partner/Safety Office if you need further advice on any of the above.
4. Letter (email) Templates
4.1. Health and Safety: I acknowledge receipt of your communication in relation to aspects of your duties which you feel may impact on your health and/or safety at work. Unless you feel there is a significant risk to your health I ask you to continue with your duties and refer to the University's guides on managing safety in the work place which should answer your question or guide you to the appropriate course of action. If you are unable to resolve your issue this way please contact me again and I, or a suitable colleague, will arrange to meet with you to discuss the matter further.
4.2. Meeting Attendance: I acknowledge receipt of your communication regarding your attendance at x meeting. I consider that this meeting is in line with your normal duties and as such would request that you attend. If you still feel that this meeting is not in line with those which would normally be expected of you within your role please contact me again and I, or a suitable colleague, will arrange to meet with you to discuss the matter further.
4.3. General Duties: I acknowledge receipt of your communication regarding you undertaking x duties. I consider that these duties are in line with your normal duties and as such would request that you undertake these. If you still feel that these duties are not in line with those which would normally be expected of you within your role please contact me again and I, or a suitable colleague, will arrange to meet with you to discuss the matter further. If you are unable to resolve your issue this way please contact me again and I, or a suitable colleague, will arrange to meet with you to discuss the matter further.