Action on the Horizon

VP Education Maia Jarvis blogs about the recent announcement from the University and College Union (UCU) that they will open two ballots to ask members to vote with regards to strike action.

Usually, I use this space to update you on the work I have been doing as your VP Education but today’s blog is a little bit different.

There are some hot topics in dispute in the higher education sector at the moment which I need to bring to your attention and I want to assure you that we will do everything we can to keep you informed as they develop over the next month.

Our role as a students’ union is to always represent your interests and sometimes key issues come along which require a lot of thought and consideration. Depending on the result of a vote among academics who belong to the University and College Union (UCU) trade union, strikes could be happening this term and we would like to be guided by your thoughts since this matter could affect the whole student body. For this reason, we’ll be creating a series of articles to provide some facts and background information on this topic. The reasons for this potential strike action are complicated and involve topics from proposed changes to some academics’ pension schemes to concerns over working conditions and workload. I know that pensions aren’t exactly the most thrilling topic for uni students (!) but we think it’s important to keep everyone informed as it’s such an important issue.

What is the upcoming vote?

The UCU has announced that they will open two voting ballots to ask members to vote with regards to strike action. One ballot will be related to proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme and the other for the “UCU Four Fights” – we’ll share more information about each of these in our upcoming articles.

The ballot (vote) will open on Monday 18 October and close Thursday 4 November with results being announced Monday 8 November.

Why does this affect me?

This ballot could lead to lecturers striking, which may impact teaching and learning. We want you to feel like you have enough information to form an opinion on this topic so keep an eye out over the next few weeks for the articles we’ll be releasing every Friday!

Take a look at our first article to find out about the UCU and trade unions more generally.