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An important message from the UCU Wales Official regarding the #ucuRISING ballot

4 October 2022

We are now more than halfway through the ballot period for our disputes on pay, working conditions and pension cuts.

While our members have worked hard over the past three weeks, there is still much to do in order to deliver the YES vote we need to get higher education employers to enter meaningful negotiations with us.  

Winning the ballot with a high turnout is not entirely about our ability to go on strike. While taking industrial action is a useful tool for any union, we cannot lose sight of the fact that a true victory in this dispute is a pay offer that meets the cost-of-living crisis, good working conditions, and the restoration of pension benefits after a deeply flawed valuation—not taking strike action.  

When unions deliver high turnout YES votes, you create an incentive for your employers to meaningfully negotiate with you at the bargaining table. In order to deliver the pay, pensions and working conditions that you and your colleagues deserve, your union needs the leverage of a high turnout strike vote. Without this bargaining power, it is likely that negotiating will be ineffective and unsuccessful—which in turn increases the likelihood that you and your colleagues will be called to take part in industrial action. 

University representative bodies are refusing to enter meaningful negotiations with your union because they don't believe that you and your colleagues can deliver a high turnout YES vote in this current ballot period. UCU is ready and willing to negotiate fairly with employer bodies like UUK and UCEA, but without a high turnout mandate for industrial action, your negotiating team won't have the bargaining power they need to deliver a fair deal on pensions, pay and working conditions.

Creating this leverage at the negotiating table is why it's so crucial that you vote and send off your ballot. If you haven't received your ballot paper, then please order a replacement ballot as soon as possible. And once you have voted, please let us know so we don't keep pestering you to find out.

There are a little over two weeks left to deliver the YES vote the university sector deserves. While industrial action is on the table, the truth is that the best way to avoid strikes over the winter is by showing the university sector that you and your colleagues are united in your willingness to bring every university in this country to a standstill over your pay, pensions and working conditions.  

Let's continue to work hard and deliver the biggest YES vote in the history of our union.  

In solidarity

Margaret Phelan 
UCU Wales official

Last updated: 5 October 2022