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December, 2021:

ASOS FAQs and Resources


Main Reclaim our time website –


Simplified spreadsheet to record duties performed

Full template spreadsheet to record duties

Template letter for work not completed

Reclaim our time flyer—flyer/pdf/ucu_asos_reclaim_flyer.pdf

Trade union Act 2016 – TUC briefing

Q. What should members be doing in terms of ASOS when it comes to grant applications and working on papers for journals? What is the UCU advice?

A. Regional office: In determining whether grant applications and papers for journals are included within ASOS will come down to the role held by our member. So for example, if a member is in an academic related role as a grants administrator, then work on grant applications would be a core part of the existing contract and therefore tasks should be completed as normal. I have read this question as coming from the point of view of an academic member of staff in the balanced or research intensive career pathway. This is a situation in which an argument could be presented and evidence with regard to whether or not such duties are contractual, and therefore whether this is fully covered by our ASOS mandate. In this context, I think that it is helpful to consider the impact of a UCU member withholding grant applications or journal papers. These actions would arguably impact on both the individual and the university; however I think that it would most keenly and acutely be felt by the individual academic. The point of any industrial action is to impose costs on to the employer for failing to listen to the union/their own staff. I think that any action to withholding grant applications or journal papers is more likely to harm our member than the employer, at least in the short term, and therefore I am inclined to advise that this would not be covered by the current ASOS. However, if we are advising members on this point, we should ask them to look at their own contract and duties first, as this should provide the definitive statement of which duties are contractual and which are voluntary in nature.

Q. If a PhD student is employed to undertake marking within a set number of hours – should they be doing as many scripts as possible within their paid/set hours and no more? What should they communicate to the University about this?

A. Regional office: The first observation is that what action the PhD student is able to take will depend on the contractual situation, i.e. what contractual agreement is in place for the member to undertake/teaching marking. If our advice is that members should only do the work in their contracts, it is reasonable for us to refer the member back to their contracts of employment. I think that it is reasonable for the PhD student to mark as many scripts as possible (at their usual speed) within the set and paid hours, and not to undertake any work on a voluntary basis. I suggest that our member should communicate to the University that they have fulfilled their contractual duties in full, but that due to the UCU action they will not be undertaking any voluntary duties. If the time allocated to the marking work is insufficient, this should be communicated to the University. I think that it might be helpful to point our member towards the information and resources in the ‘reclaim our time’ campaign. Please see the website below for more details: