UCEA’s response to UCU's scheduling strike action at 57 individual universities

A UCEA spokesperson said:

“Having achieved strike votes in only 57 of the 147 HE institutions where it balloted, we are dismayed to see UCU’s decision* to ask its members to take such extensive and damaging strike action over its national pay demands. This is after UCU has failed to secure its members’ support in the large majority (90) of HE institutions where it also balloted following a big campaign over nearly two months. The other four trade unions also balloted over the final pay outcome and failed to achieve sufficient support from their members**. Action of this kind will be damaging to students, lose UCU members money and risk undermining the collective bargaining arrangements.

“It is completely unrealistic in the collective pay arrangements for UCU to attempt to force all 147 employers to re-open the concluded 2019-20 national pay round***. The outcome was already at the very limit of what is affordable and the ballots confirm that the vast majority of employees in these institutions understand the challenging context. The 25,398 UCU members who voted to support strike action over pay represent just 7.8% of the 325,000 employees covered by the national pay arrangements. Against a difficult backdrop employers have ensured that they have now all received an above inflation pay uplift at the minimum and many a much larger pay increase.”

* UCU’s announcement www.ucu.org.uk/article/10408/UCU-announces-eight-days-of-strikes-starting-this-month-at-60-universities 

**
UCU has revised its announcements several times and now confirms that its disaggregated pay ballot results saw just 55 out of 147 UCU branches meeting the required 50% turnout, plus those in Northern Ireland who are not required to meet 50%. 
UNISON’s aggregated pay ballot achieved an overall turnout of 28.8% www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2019/10/he-ballot-result-2/
EIS’s aggregated pay ballot achieved an overall turnout of 42% www.eis.org.uk/ULA/StatutoryBallot
Unite’s aggregated pay ballot achieved an overall turnout of 32%. 
GMB balloted in only three institutions. Its ballots closed on 30 October but it has not made its results known.   
A 50% turnout is required by UK law in all jurisdictions except Northern Ireland, together with the results being relayed to employers as soon as is reasonably practicable

*** It is now over three months since employees covered by the national pay negotiations have received the above inflation base pay increases of between 3.65% and 1.8% arising from this pay round, plus progression pay for the majority bringing the average increase at sector level to 3.5%. 
At the time of implementation in August 2019 CPIH inflation was 1.7% and has remained at that level in the year to September. UCEA’s website hosts full details of the 2019-20 Pay Negotiations, including the Final Offer in full: 
www.ucea.ac.uk/our-work/collective-pay-negotiations-landing/Current-pay-negotiations/


Notes

The UCU and UNISON USS pension strike ballots are separate to their pay ballots. These ballot results relate to a separate dispute and have been separately counted and reported. 
Contact Universities UK for comment relating to the outcome of the USS ballots. 

ENDS
For further information: Please contact Andy Fryer, Head of Communications and Membership (a.fryer@ucea.ac.uk) or Marc Whittaker, Communications and Events Manager (m.whittaker@ucea.ac.uk). Call 020 7383 2444.
 
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