University may be in breach of Human Rights Act

by | 28 Apr 2023 | 0 comments

An article by Tom Williams in the Times Higher Education today suggests that universities may be in breach of the Human Rights Act when they threaten 100% pay reduction for partial performance.

David Mead, professor of UK human rights law at the University of East Anglia, has
argued that employers that make wage deductions that are not proportionate to the loss suffered
are acting unlawfully by contravening the Human Rights Act.


Even the threat of such deductions – irrespective of whether it is carried out – was unlawful,
Professor Mead claimed, because if someone decided not to engage in the boycott in fear of such
reprisals then they had been “chilled” from lawfully exercising their human rights.


“Human rights law requires a balancing of all the competing imperatives, including the right to
withdraw labour in pursuit of better terms and conditions –…rather than a one-sided right for an
employer to make deductions in full no matter how little work is actually not done,” he said.

Williams, Tom “UCU faces ‘ultimate test’ as v-cs seek to blunt marking boycott”, Times Higher Ecucation, Online:, Accessed 27 April 2023



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