UCU members back strikes over both pensions and pay and conditions

31 October 2019

From UCU

UCU members working in UK universities have backed strike action in ballots over both pensions and pay and working conditions

Overall, 79% of UCU members who voted backed strike action in the ballot over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). In the ballot on pay, casualisation, equality and workloads, 74% of members polled backed strike action*.

UCU said the overwhelming mandate for strikes was a serious indictment on the state of higher education and that if universities failed to respond to the sector’s problems then strike action, affecting around a million students, would be inevitable.

The union’s higher education committee will meet tomorrow (Friday) to consider the results and next steps in its campaigns to defend pensions, pay and working conditions.

Last year, university campuses were brought to a standstill by unprecedented levels of strike action. UCU said that it was frustrated that members had to be balloted again, but that universities’ refusal to deal with their concerns had left them with no choice.

Earlier this month, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner called on both sides to get round the table for urgent talks. She said she fully supported UCU members fighting for fair pay and decent pensions and called on both sides to work together to find a solution.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘The results can only be interpreted as clear support for strike action over pensions, pay and working conditions. The ballots reflect just how unhappy and angry staff are at the state of higher education in the UK.

‘It is incredibly frustrating that we had to ballot members again, but universities only have themselves to blame after failing to address falling real-terms pay and for refusing to deal with casualisation, workloads and the rising cost of USS pensions.

‘Universities now have to come back to us prepared to work seriously to address these problems. If they choose to ignore this message from their staff then strike action looks inevitable.’


* RESULTS

USS ballot – here is a full breakdown of the results currently available.

There are still four results to come in the USS ballot:

  • Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  • Institute for Development Studies
  • The University of Liverpool
  • The University of Sussex.

Overall, the turnout in the USS ballots was 53%. The ballots were counted branch by branch and, with four results still to come in, 41 branches beat a legal 50% turnout threshold required for strike action. The threshold rule does not apply to Queens University Belfast or the University of Ulster. Based on the results so far, 43 institutions could take strike action that would hit almost a million students (953,871)

The 41 universities that passed the 50% turnout threshold in the USS ballot:

Aston University
Bangor University
Cardiff University
University of Durham
Heriot-Watt University
Loughborough University
Newcastle University
The Open University
The University of Aberdeen
The University of Bath
The University of Dundee
The University of Leeds
The University of Manchester
The University of Sheffield
University of Nottingham
The University of Stirling
University College London
The University of Birmingham
The University of Bradford
The University of Bristol
The University of Cambridge
The University of East Anglia
The University of Edinburgh
The University of Exeter
The University of Essex
The University of Glasgow
The University of Lancaster
The University of Leicester
City, University of London
Goldsmiths College
Queen Mary University of London
Royal Holloway and Bedford New College
The University of Reading
The University of Southampton
The University of St Andrews
Courtauld Institute of Art
The University of Strathclyde
Scottish Association of Marine Science
The University of Warwick
The University of York
The University of Wales
Also eligible to take strike action:Queen’s University Belfast

University of Ulster

Pay and working conditions ballot – here is a full breakdown of the results currently available.

There are still four results to come in the pay and conditions ballot:

  • Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  • Institute for Development Studies
  • The University of Liverpool
  • The University of Sussex.

Overall, the turnout in the pay and conditions ballots was 49%. The ballots were counted branch by branch and, with four results still to come in, 53 branches beat a legal 50% turnout threshold required for strike action. The threshold rule does not apply to Queens University Belfast or the University of Ulster. Based on the results so far, 55 institutions could take strike action that would hit over a million students (1,143,782).

The 53 universities that passed the 50% turnout threshold in the pay and conditions ballot:

Aston University
Bangor University
Bishop Grosseteste University
Bournemouth University
Cardiff University
City, University of London
Courtauld Institute of Art
Edge Hill University
Glasgow Caledonian University
Glasgow School of Art
Goldsmiths College
Heriot-Watt University
Liverpool Hope University
Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts
Loughborough University
Newcastle University
Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Queen Mary University of London
Royal Holloway
Sheffield Hallam University
The Open University
The University of Aberdeen
The University of Bath
The University of Birmingham
The University of Bradford
The University of Brighton
The University of Bristol
The University of Cambridge
The University of Dundee
The University of East Anglia
The University of Edinburgh
The University of Essex
The University of Exeter
The University of Glasgow
The University of Kent
The University of Lancaster
The University of Leeds
The University of Leicester
The University of Manchester
The University of Oxford
The University of Reading
The University of Sheffield
The University of Southampton
The University of St Andrews
The University of Stirling
The University of Strathclyde
The University of Wales
The University of Warwick
The University of York
University College London
University of Durham
University of Nottingham
Also eligible to take strike action:
Queen’s University Belfast

University of Ulster

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