Working To Contract

From 1 November, UCU members have been undertaking action short of a strike by working to contract. Comprehensive advice on what you should be doing is available on the UCU website:

To help make the action more effective, we are also asking members to:

1. Send this email to our Director of HR Dean Morley ( requesting all documents relating to your contractual obligations:

Dear Dean Morley,

As a member of UCU who urges UCEA to reopen meaningful negotiations over the pay award, I am participating in ‘Work to Contract’ action.

To ensure that I meet my contractual obligations I would be grateful if you could forward to me all documents relevant to my employment with the University (e.g. letters of appointment, terms and conditions, contracts, and HERA assessments).  As you will understand, it is important that I receive these documents urgently to ensure that I am not in breach of my obligations.

In instances where these documents do not stipulate specific duties I may seek written clarification from my line manager to ensure there is no misunderstanding.  I will share this information with UCU who may use it both to advise me during the ‘work to contract’ action and to conduct an equalities audit across UCU members.

Yours sincerely,


Please cc us and you line manager when you do so.


2. Set your email to auto-respond with the following message: ‘PLEASE NOTE: There may be a delay in dealing with your email as I am participating in UCU industrial action by “working to contract” in support of the union’s campaign for fair pay in higher education.’


3. Put the attached poster on your office door.


Remember that the university cannot deduct your pay for working to contract. Deductions of pay for partial performance of your contract might be lawful, depending on the precise circumstances, but would be open to contest.