Readers will remember the travel chaos caused by Iceland's volcanic ash cloud in 2010. Some members and employees holidaying around the time faced problems trying to return to work on time. In response to these unforeseeable events the University has made those affected use their own time or pay – by taking unpaid leave or using one's remaining annual leave – to cover any absence. This is unlike those on University business at the time, who received payment for the period.
The Senate House UNISON Branch considers this move on the part of the University to be unfair. We believe that it is 'University business' to ensure that our hardworking members and other employees are able gain a proper work/life balance – especially through the use of their annual leave entitlement, in full. We all know, and are proud of the fact, that the University is a vastly successful and growing global institution. Given this standing, it is surely reasonable to expect the University to bear the burden of extraordinary events rather than individual members and employees.
London Metropolitan University granted 'Special Leave' status for its employees affected by the volcanic ash cloud. We call on our University to do the same.