UCU members overwhelmingly back referendum on Brexit deal

15 October 2018 | last updated: 18 October 2018

Almost nine in 10 UCU members (89%) who voted said yes to the question "Should UCU support a referendum on the final Brexit deal negotiated by the UK government?".

The union said the overwhelming vote showed clear support among those who work in colleges and universities for another vote on Brexit. UCU said Brexit would have a major impact on further and higher education with more than 50,000 EU nationals in the academic workforce alone.

The vote ran alongside a debate on the union's website where people from within and outside the union set out their views on the issue.

UCU head of democratic services Paul Cottrell said: 'UCU members have voted overwhelmingly to support a referendum on whatever Brexit deal the government finally agrees. There are strong views on all sides and I want to thank UCU members for conducting this debate in an excellent spirit, carefully listening to each other's views and addressing the arguments.

'The vote unquestionably reflects widespread concern within further and higher education about the impact of Brexit on education, the many thousands of EU staff who work in the sector and its impact on society as a whole.

'When trade unions negotiate a deal with employers they take whatever is agreed back to the membership to have the final say. We believe the government must do the same when it comes to the country's biggest decision for a generation.'

A YouGov poll, carried out by UCU before Article 50 was triggered, showed that three-quarters of EU academics were considering leaving UK higher education.

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