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Build a democratic union: have your say in upcoming election ballots and member surveys

1 February 2021 | last updated: 3 February 2021

There are a number of important ballots and surveys currently underway or forthcoming in your union.

Survey on industrial action in higher education

The higher education (HE) industrial action survey which launched last Monday is a top priority. The representatives who make decisions about industrial action on your behalf need to know about your priorities, your views about past industrial action, and your strategic thinking about future disputes.

Please take a few minutes to find the email with your personalised link and complete the survey before it closes on Wednesday 17 February. If you can't find the email in your inbox or your spam folder, don't worry - you will be sent the link again tomorrow (Tuesday 2 February). The email will come from

Thanks to members who reported issues with the launch of the survey. The company administering the survey for UCU, Civica, has addressed those problems and the survey should be fully functional. If you have already completed the survey, you do not need to complete it again. We welcome feedback on the survey and have created an in-house email address for you to contact if you have anything to say that isn't covered by the survey questions.

Separately from this survey, there will soon be an online consultation of members on the offer made by HE employers in this year's national negotiations. You will need to fill in the survey AND vote in the consultation so your representatives can make informed decisions about what to do next.

Annual UCU elections

Ballot papers have been posted to members for the annual election of UCU's future president and seats on the national executive committee (NEC). 

The NEC, chaired by the president, is one of the union's most important elected decision-making bodies. As general secretary I report and give advice to the NEC and its sub-committees, but they make important decisions on a range of matters: from our Covid-19 health and safety policies to our strategy for industrial action including the timing and amount of action, strike pay, and whether to consult members on offers from employers.

These elections are your annual opportunity to determine who sits on that committee and makes decisions in your name. The higher the turnout, the stronger the democratic mandate NEC members will have to represent you with.

For full details of the elections, click here. You can find details of the NEC's current members and minutes of previous NEC meetings here. Finally, since I became general secretary I have started the practice of publishing my regular reports to the NEC and reports to other committees on the UCU website here.

Task group survey

The first of the member-led task groups pledged in my election manifesto, on sexual violence, is gathering evidence from branches and members to inform the union's work in this area. You can expect to receive an invitation to submit evidence very soon and I strongly encourage you to take the time to respond.

You can find more information about the work of the task group here.

As always, please drop me an email if you have a question about the task group or anything else.

Jo Grady
UCU general secretary