Summer term lecturer strikes narrowly avoided after ballot threshold missed

Those who did take part voted overwhelmingly for further lecturer strikes


A recent UCU ballot on whether to hold further lecturer strikes this summer has failed after a low voter turnout. This is despite those who did take part voting overwhelmingly in support of further strike action.

The University and College Union, a trade union representing 120,000 people working in higher education, planned strike action due to concern over insecure contracts, excessive workloads, and a fall in staff pay, which has fallen by 21 per cent in real terms over the past decade.

Just under 70,000 union members from across 143 UK universities were eligible to vote, with 70 per cent voting in favour of industrial action while 80 per cent voted in favour of action short of a strike.

However, with only 28,295 of those eligible to vote doing so, there was only a 41 per cent turnout. As per the Trade Union Act, there must be a voter turnout of at least 50 per cent of eligible voters for a vote to be valid meaning there will not be any strikes next term.

Image may contain: People, Protest, Pedestrian, Parade, Crowd, Person, Human

Last year campuses around the UK were brought to a standstill after teaching staff took part in industrial action as a reaction to changes to their pensions.

After weeks of missed lectures and picket lines, the strike came to an end in April after a proposal made by Universities UK was accepted by the UCU.

Sam James, President of the University of Cambridge’s branch of UCU told Varsity the necessity of needing 50 per cent turnout "has in this case achieved its purpose of preventing workers from defending their interests through collective action".

Featured image credit: Alarichall