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Winning the dispute

23 February 2023

I am contacting you today with some important information about our reballot and with the results of our recent survey of members.

Winning the ballot

These next few days are some of the most important in our union's history. Reballot papers to extend our pay and conditions and pension disputes mandates have started arriving and we have already heard from thousands of you voting YES.

If you haven't yet received your ballot please watch for it and as soon as it arrives, turn it around and get it in that postbox.

For this ballot we have the advantage of members being in the workplace and that is where this ballot will be won. Every second in the workplace is vital - don't speak to a colleague without asking them if they have voted yet, and if they are not yet a member then get them signed up.

The role of every members is to:

  • vote YES as soon as your ballot arrives and let us know when you do
  • ask ten colleagues to do the same
  • attend your local GTVO meetings
  • share photos and videos on social media tagging @ucu, @UCEA1 and @UniversitiesUK.

Winning the dispute

Last week we announced significant progress in our negotiations with employers over pensions, pay, casualisation, workloads and equality pay gaps. In order to allow ongoing negotiations to continue in a constructive environment, along with our sister campus unions, we agreed to call a period of calm, and pause strike action for two weeks.

We know that the timing of Friday's announcement was not ideal. We were dealing with various obstacles that were beyond our control, alongside extremely difficult time constraints. But we fully accept that things could have been done better. We met with reps yesterday to talk about this and we have learned a lot for the future.

This week we asked members to vote in our e-survey on whether they agreed with the principle of pausing action. We had an unbelievable response to this, receiving 24,331 votes in less than 48 hours. Of those who participated, 71.5% voted that they agreed with the principle of pausing action.

The strategy of mixing action, negotiations and balloting is moving our employers. We have seen a significant shift in the employers' position on pension restoration, and more movement than we have seen in any recent disputes on pay. Whilst negotiations continue the focus of all us now must be one thing only: delivering as many YES votes as possible as early as possible. A strong turnout and a big yes vote is the best way to ensure the talks that are happening now deliver agreements we can be proud of.

I am looking forward to seeing our social media filled with pictures from your GTVO meetings alongside the pictures of members posting their ballots.

Win the ballot. Win the dispute.

In solidarity

Jo Grady
UCU general secretary

Last updated: 24 February 2023