Cardiff Uni calls marking boycott ‘unfair’ but won’t withhold 100 per cent of lecturers’ pay

The UCU has branded the university’s statement ‘dismissive, scolding, concerning, and highly patronising’

Cardiff University has confirmed it will not be withholding 100 per cent of lecturers’ pay whilst they are striking, despite being able to legally.

The university has instead chosen to withhold the smaller amount of 50 per cent of pay for the time being, according to a letter shared to Twitter.

The UCU has responded in a Twitter thread by saying Cardiff Uni has a “disregard for its staff” and called the university’s letter “highly patronising”.

In the letter addressed to the UCU Executive Committee, Cardiff University reiterated it has policies in place regarding withholding pay for staff not fulfilling their contract, and emphasised that staff who tender partial performance have no legal entitlement to be paid.

It comes amid ongoing industrial action, which the university called “unfair to our students” in the shared letter, continues to affect students at Cardiff, adding that it is “disappointed” the UCU is encouraging staff to take part

The letter from the university explains that it “can legally deduct 100 per cent  but [has] chosen, without prejudice to that right, to withhold a smaller proportion of pay at this stage while [it] monitors the impact on our students.”

Cardiff has also added that this letter is “not punitive or a threat,” but a legally-permitted response to the marking and assessment boycott. The university has also asked that because it respect employees’ right to take lawful industrial action, the UCU should respect its right to withhold pay for staff that fail to fulfil their contract.

The Cardiff UCU in a letter to the University Executive Board stated universities across the UK have responded in a range of ways to the proposed marking boycotts but Cardiff University is “among those universities that have adopted an extreme position” which ultimately threatens “the university’s and its students’ interests”.

In the thread, Cardiff UCU slammed the university’s letter for being “dismissive, scolding, concerning, and highly patronising” and suggested that the uni’s latest approach is “potentially illegal”.

“Almost comedic, was the VC’s claim that docking 50-100 per cent of our pay for lawful industrial action ‘is not intended in any way to suggest that we do not value our staff, nor that we wish to damage the’ wait for it… ‘good employee relations that exist here at Cardiff.’

The suggestion the choice to make these bullying, punitive deductions has been “forced” upon Cardiff University by UCU staff members would be laughable if it weren’t so insulting,” the Cardiff UCU tweeted.

A Cardiff University spokesperson said: “Where staff take part in this action, we reserve the right to withhold 100 per cent of pay. However, it has been decided that, in the first instance, we will withhold 50 per cent.

“The assessment and marking boycott called by UCU goes to the heart of the contract of employment for academic staff involved in student learning and teaching and affects the fundamental duties of academic staff. Given the seriousness for the institution and our students, like other Welsh and UK universities we have been left with no choice but to adopt this approach.

“We fully respect an employee’s right to take lawful industrial action and, in turn, we expect UCU to respect an employer’s right to withhold pay for not fulfilling contracts.”

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