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Coventry University faces industrial action in pay row

10 July 2008 | last updated: 14 December 2015

Lecturers at Coventry University warned today that they may take strike action over an ongoing row about grading structures and performance related pay.

At a packed meeting on Tuesday, members of UCU voted unanimously to reject proposals for changes to way they are paid and to ballot for industrial action if the university refuses to negotiate. The union has accused the university of attempting to hoodwink staff into thinking they will get a better deal through a complex and bureaucratic performance-related pay system. It says that the new deal actually amounts to a pay cut for some staff and has called on the university to stop playing games and to return to the negotiating table.

The impasse relates to a National Framework Agreement drawn up in 2004 between all UK universities and trade unions; the specific terms of which were left to be thrashed out locally. The proposals put forward by Coventry University do not conform to the requirements of the Framework Agreement and UCU warned today that, unless steps are taken to resolve the conflict, staff may be forced to take industrial action.

UCU Coventry chair, Jon Baxter, said: 'We are angry and very disappointed, but most of all saddened, that the university has attempted to hoodwink its staff with substandard terms and conditions. However, we are delighted that the staff have unanimously rejected their proposals. The fact that nobody from the university would openly debate the proposals with the union spoke volumes about what the proposals really mean. The staff have made their position quite clear and we now need to get back round the table and get this matter sorted out. Industrial action is not in the interests of anyone involved with Coventry University.'

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Coventry University can rest assured that it will feel the full force of the national union, as well as its local staff, if it persists with trying to force through these ill-thought out and insulting proposals. The Framework Agreement was thrashed out to improve staff's pay and conditions, not as something to try and beat staff down with. The university's behaviour is insulting and its timing is cowardly - right at the end of the academic year. If it had hoped to sneak this through without a fuss, it is severely mistaken.'

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