ASOS Guidance

The following is some basic guidance in relation to Action Short of a Strike (ASOS).  It s not yet seen to be a comprehensive list and we see it as a living document which will be added to to reflect how to undertake ASOS from various academic and academic-related perspectives.


Voluntary so we don’t need to do it (unless part of a formal role taken on for which workload allowance is given)

  • Surveys, questionnaires, consultations etc from anywhere in the university (eg. estates, library). It may be pertinent to send an email. For example: ‘I am currently engaged in action short of a strike to defend USS pensions, which involves working to my contract. My union has requested that I and my colleagues do not undertake voluntary activities as part of this action. For this reason I am unable to complete your [questionnaire/survey/consultation] and I would urge you to abandon it given that a fully representative response will not be achieved at this current time.’
  • Open Days
  • Away Days
  • Non-compulsory meetings
  • Non-compulsory training sessions
  • Attendance at any event on Saturdays: delivery and collection of Saturday exam papers
  • Attendance at any event after 5pm (if 9am start) or in lunch hour
  • Conducting annual reviews/appraisals (interviewer) if this is not already part of a formal role (for example, as the line manager) for which workload allowance is given.
  • Conducting annual research interviews (interviewer) if this is not already part of a formal role for which workload allowance is given.
  • Mock REF assessment of outputs (a number of people have received requests to do this, all of which implied it was voluntary).

Part of the job (‘required’) but could be de-prioritised (i.e. delayed, submitted late)

  • Completing annual Research forms (interviewee). Prioritise teaching, marking and student-facing duties first. Complete forms if and when there is sufficient time to do so in 35 hr week.
  • Appraisal/annual review forms and interviews (interviewee). Ditto

Note: In the interests of maintaining good relations with other colleagues it’s probably advisable to address any emails regarding working to contract to the academic lead / head of department as well as (or instead of) the member of staff who has contacted you.

Things we’re entitled to ask for from our line manager

  • Personal workload data for this year (2017-18)
  • Workload hours to attend a meeting if it is seen as necessary/compulsory and allowance not currently given
  • Information/clarification about workload for next year

If you are a line manager

  • Don’t put pressure on colleagues to complete tasks that would require them to work above their contractual hours.
  • Don’t ask colleagues to undertake work or attend events after 5pm or on Saturdays
  • If a colleague asks you about prioritising tasks as they are unable to meet deadlines within their contractual hours, pass the request up to your own line manager where appropriate, or at least make sure your line manager is aware of disruption caused. This includes missing marking deadlines.
  • Lead by example, making it clear you are working to contract yourself by publicly declining out-of-hours work where appropriate, and including ASOS information in your email signature and/or out-of-office reply.