UCU Industrial Action dates have been announced for this month and action short of strike (ASOS) for December in relation to redundancies proposed as part of the current Goldsmiths Recovery Programme consultation. UNISON members will be concerned about what this means, and we know members have expressed a desire to show support to colleagues in UCU who may be participating in strike action.

We have composed an FAQ that will help to answer any questions that have been raised in meetings with members.

What is industrial action?
Industrial action can include strike action (which is any concerted stoppage of work) or action short of strike action such as ‘go-slows’ or ‘working to rule’.

What is a Picket line?
A picket line is when members meet at the workplace to increase awareness and support for their cause. Picketing members may also tell other workers about the problem in the workplace. During a picket line you are allowed to persuade workers, including substitute workers and delivery people, to stop interacting with the business. Pickets must not prevent people from going to work or doing their usual work if they want to do so. This must be done peacefully, as criminal law still applies to picket lines. Picketing by members may only lawfully take place at or near their own place of work.

Are UNISON members taking industrial action?
No. Following consultation with members, UNISON is not taking industrial action in relation to the Goldsmiths Recovery Programme at present.

What is ‘Secondary’ Industrial Action, and what can I do to support UCU?
Secondary or Sympathy industrial action is where members of another union or employer take industrial action in support of another or refuse to cross the picket line in sympathy with them.

It’s against the law to take part in ‘secondary action’.

UNISON cannot instruct members to strike as, with the exception of lawful picketing, secondary industrial action is unlawful. Therefore, unions cannot lawfully call or threaten a strike, or other industrial action, by members of an employer/union not directly involved in the industrial action. If you join in UCU’s industrial action and withdraw your labour, you will not receive protection from dismissal.

Lawful picketing is the only form of secondary action that is lawful.

Can an employer deduct your wages for taking part in industrial action?
Yes, although an employer cannot deduct more than one fifth of weekly pay for a day’s strike action.

Where can I get more information, and how can I discuss any concerns with my branch?
A weekly all members meeting is held every Wednesday at 12pm for members to discuss any issues with the branch and UNISON regional officers. You can also raise any issues directly with your local departmental rep or by using the contact us features on our website: https://unisongoldsmiths.org.uk/

What can I do?

Any other ideas? Let us know!

In solidarity,
UNISON Goldsmiths Branch