Students’ Union UCL to support UCU strikes after ‘record number’ of votes in referendum

The SU said ‘support for strike action has increased’ since previous vote this January

Students’ Union UCL officially supports all strike action by the University and College Union (UCU) after a record-breaking turnout at a referendum.

This will be their position until next November unless another referendum is held with reversing results.

Described by the SU as “the largest referendum we’ve ever held,” 6,290 votes were cast to decide the union’s position on the ongoing and upcoming strikes, surpassing the previous record of 5,116 votes held by a vote on the same issue this January.

Of those who voted, 68.7 per cent were in favour of supporting the strikes, 26.9 per cent were against, and 4.4 per cent abstained. The percentage of voters in support rose while those against dropped since earlier this year.

Data from Students’ Union UCL (2022, 2021)

In disputes between them and employers over pay, working conditions, and pensions, UCU announced nationwide strikes affecting more than 30 London universities on the 24th, 25th, and 30th of November earlier this month. This followed a vote in October that resulted in a national mandate to strike until April 2023.

Having supported the strikes since January, Students’ Union UCL asked this month for students to vote and confirm its position going forward. 

Referendums are called on similar issues after controversy over the lack of student participation in the SU’s stance to not support strikes in 2021.

Since votes in favour were the majority, the SU will now support the UCU strikes in ways including publishing a statement, lobbying UCL to ask other UK unis to meet UCU demands, having sabbatical officers visit picket lines and encouraging students not to cross them, and educating students about the reasons for the strike.

Students’ Union UCL said: “It has always been clear that both students and staff want to avoid the need for strikes.

“We will take the result of the vote, and the mandate it provides, forward in our meetings with UCL and continue to push for a resolution to the dispute and attempt to avoid the need for ongoing strike action.

“As always, we will do as much as possible to mitigate the impact of strikes on students. Making sure your rights are protected and defended.”