For UCU members in Higher Education ASOS (action short of a strike) in the form of working to contract starts on Friday 1st November. There is information on the national UCU website about what working to contract means. This contains useful information on legal and contractual aspects here.
Working to contract can be a strong sanction if well organised. Universities often depend on staff working unpaid overtime and going the extra marathon to deliver on targets for the REF and NSS. It’s time to withdraw goodwill. What goodwill are our employers showing us by expecting us to take pay rises below inflation for five years in a row? None whatsoever.
We should dismiss any suggestion that working to contract is ‘tokenistic’ or impossible to operate because our contracts are professional and sometimes ‘open-ended’. If all UCU members seriously worked to contract universities would come to a halt and the employers would see the need to come back to the bargaining table with a decent pay offer. Working to contract is also important in helping members regain work/life balance. It can empower members to regain control over workloads.
Here is a full document which you can use in your branch committee and with members to promote the work to contract, with practical advice on what members should be doing in this period.