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UoN’s UCU votes in favour of strike action

71.6 percent of members voted in support of strikes

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at UoN have voted in favour of strike action in a row over pensions.

There are further ballot results expected tomorrow, concerning pay and conditions. After this result has been received, the UCU’s higher education committee will meet to decide next steps.

UoN last saw strikes in the 2019/20 academic year, when 22 days of action took place between November 2019 and March 2020.

62.6 percent of eligible voters at UoN, comprised of university staff and academics in the union, cast their ballots. This turnout surpasses the 50 percent required turnout threshold, meaning strikes are permitted to take place at the uni if the UCU decides to take such action.

71.6 percent of UoN’s UCU voters said they are prepared to take strike action. Overall, 76 percent of UCU members at 68 universities voted in support of strike action.

The UCU’s general secretary Jo Grady said: “These results are a clear mandate for strike action over pension cuts and should be heard loud and clear by university employers.

“Staff in universities they have given their all to support students during the pandemic, but management have responded by trying to slash their guaranteed pension by 35%. In a ballot window of just three weeks our members have made it abundantly clear that they will not accept these vindictive attacks on their retirement.

“It is now in the gift of employers to avoid strike action, which is the outcome staff want as well. All management need to do is withdraw their needless cuts and return to negotiations. If they fail to do so, any disruption will be entirely their responsibility.”

Universities UK told the BBC: “While it is disappointing to see some UCU members think industrial action over pensions is justified, the union has failed to secure a mandate for industrial action in 31 of the 68 institutions, meaning fewer branches have reached the threshold than in previous ballots.

“Union members voting ‘yes’ to strike action at eligible branches account for less than 7% of the scheme’s total active membership…

“The employers’ proposals for reform are the only viable plans under current regulations that will keep the scheme affordable for members and universities and keep the defined benefit section of the scheme open.”

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