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Durham University


Frequently Asked Questions

List of FAQs

+What is Action Short of a Strike (ASOS)?

The University has been informed by UCU that their members will be taking industrial action, which includes continuous ‘action short of a strike’ (ASOS) until the end of April. ASOS is when trade union members work strictly to the terms of their employment contract and, in this dispute, the UCU has balloted for ASOS which consists of:

· Working to contract

· Not undertaking any voluntary activities

· Not covering for absent colleagues

· Not rescheduling lectures or classes missed/cancelled due to strike action

· Not sharing materials relating to lectures or classes or work cancelled/missed as a result of strike action

Where action by colleagues means that they only partially carry out the duties of their employment or they are in breach of their employment contract, the University has made it clear that it will not accept such partial performance and the University would be entitled to withhold 100% of pay for each day that ASOS is taken.

During the period of ASOS, the University expects all staff to continue to carry out all of their contractual duties. For each colleague, contractual duties includes those which are expressly contained in their terms and conditions of employment and job descriptions (or can be implied into those documents), along with those which are custom and practice.

Contractual duties also includes duties which are allocated or assigned from line managers. Managers are entitled to give colleagues reasonable instructions about which duties to undertake and how to execute them, for example the prioritisation of work and timescales for completing tasks related to REF or mitigating the impact of industrial action on our students. A refusal to carry out reasonable management instructions will amount to a breach of contract and to partial performance of duties. 

Where staff have a discretion as to how work may be completed, they should use their discretion for the benefit of the University. 

A colleague is entitled to refuse to carry out duties above and beyond those contractually required and a refusal to do work, which is genuinely voluntary, would not be a breach of contract.