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Get the vote out

Get the Vote Out

Information on running industrial action ballots following the new turnout requirement of the 2016 Trade Union Act.

UCU's national executive committee (NEC) has agreed a clear plan to ensure we're able to successfully 'get the vote out' (GTVO), achieve the necessary 50% turnout and take industrial action when necessary to protect our members' interests.

Sample ERS ballot envelope If you're running a ballot, make sure your members know what to look out for: show them an example ballot envelope 

We have issued guidance on how we plan to support branches to prepare to meet the new requirement, including our new guide to getting the vote out [306kb] in your ballot.

What are the local industrial action procedures?

Our bargaining and negotiating team has produced a guide to the main points of the TU act, what this means for branches seeking authorisation to ballot and what preparation is required.

USS pensions justice - ballot poster animation USS strike ballot 2019

Materials for branches urging a 'yes' vote in the autumn 2019 USS ballot:


Four fights, one voice HE ballot poster HE autumn 2019 'four fights' ballot

Materials for branches pushing for a 'yes' vote in the autumn 2019 ballot on pay inequality, job insecurity, rising workload and pay deflation:

USS and HE autumn ballots 2019

The voting pack for the autumn disputes will look like this example ballot envelope. HE reballot envelope

  • Members in branches where UCU has registered a dispute over the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) will receive two ballot papers - one for pay inequality, job insecurity, rising workload and pay deflation and one for USS - and a ballot insert for each dispute.
  • Members in post-92 branches will receive one insert and one ballot paper for the pay inequality, job insecurity, rising workload and pay deflation dispute.
  • All ballot papers should be returned in the single prepaid envelope provided.
  • Both kinds of pack also contain an A4 'I've voted!' poster and a sheet of 'I've voted!' stickers.
  • These resources are for members to promote GTVO - for instance a ballot 'day of action' where members are encouraged to wear the stickers to work or display the poster.
  • FAQs for branch activists are available here. [213kb]

Let Rosie help get the vote out

Originally created by Rob in our north west regional office, we've developed a set of Rosie images that you can adapt for your own on- and offline GTVO activities:

  • click on any image to open a larger version which you can use with a photo editing app to add your own wording; ideal for sharing on social media channels
  • download the A4 Word version to easily overlay your own text and print direct, save in order to get copies printed, or save as an image for online sharing
  • download the original full-size images in a zipped file if you want to get more creative.

GTVO Rosie and friend vote yes: best for social media GTVO Rosie and friend vote yes Word file [2mb]

GTVO Rosie vote yes (marching): best for social media GTVO Rosie vote yes marching Word file [1mb]

GTVO Rosie vote yes (standing): best for social media GTVO Rosie vote yes standing Word file [1mb]


GTVO card Example local GTVO card or graphic Get the vote out: on the ground

Here are some examples of resources developed and shared for and by activists to encourage members to vote in union ballots. Please share anything that worked well in your branch.

What is GTVO?

'Getting the vote out' is a model for increasing voter participation in a ballot or election and is really just a method of systematically speaking to every member and reminding them to use their vote. Experience shows that this makes all the difference to the outcome of a ballot or election and we believe will be crucial in achieving that minimum 50% turnout.

What should be in a GTVO plan?

Before a ballot is authorised branches will be required to produce a GTVO plan. There will be support available to help you do this. The plan will include:

  • communicating with members
  • allocating key roles
  • timescales
  • membership lists and mapping.

Who is responsible for GTVO?

Everyone! The stakes are high for the union and we will need members, reps, branch officers and officials to work together. However, branches will be doing the work on the ground and you will need to check that you have your GTVO team in place including a lead GTVO contact, department reps, and of course some volunteer helpers. Branch administrators, in branches where there is one, will have a key role and we will be in touch with them shortly about how they can support GTVO.

Last updated: 10 October 2019