UCU Referendum Result

You've voted for the Students' Union to support the UCU’s current industrial action and its stance in its entirety, up to and including any further strike action. Find out what that means and what actions we'll be taking as a result.

Over the last three days, you've been voting for what stance the Students' Union should adopt towards the current UCU industrial action.

This preferendum was called by the Officer Group for students at Royal Holloway to collectively decide the Students’ Union’s position on the current UCU industrial action.

The preferendum closed today at 4pm with 375 eligible student votes counted including one abstention. The preferendum was conducted via alternative vote allowing you to rank your preference, and the results were as follows:

  1. To support UCU’s current industrial action and its stance in its entirety, up to and including any further strike action – 293 votes (78%)
  2. To support UCU’s current stance regarding ‘action short of a strike’, but reject the decision for wholesale strikes - 57 votes (15%)
  3. To reject UCU’s current industrial action and its stance in its entirety - 24 votes (7%)

Option 'a' reached quorum in round one; therefore the Students’ Union will be adopting option 'a' and supporting the UCU's current industrial action and its stance in its entirety, up to and including any further strike action.

What has happened so far?

Staff at 58 universities (including Royal Holloway) took strike action in December last year and UCU members are now currently engaged in action short of a strike over the ‘Four Fights’ (pay and working conditions) and USS (pension) disputes.

This can entail working to contract and not undertaking voluntary activities, not rescheduling classes and lectures cancelled due to strike action and not covering for absent colleagues. 

The Royal Holloway UCU branch started working to contract on 1 December 2021 and this will continue through until 3 May 2022 (the end of the six-month legal mandate for action).

Working to contract

Working to contract means abiding strictly by the terms that your contract of employment (or other formal documents relating to your employment) specify as your hours of work; breaks; workload; and/or other matters.

UCU has warned that if the disputes cannot be resolved then more strikes will take place this year, impacting an even larger number of institutions.

What does the UCU want?

To resolve the USS pension dispute UCU is demanding employers revoke their 35% cuts to the guaranteed pensions of staff. To resolve the pay & working conditions dispute UCU is demanding a £2.5k pay increase for all staff, as well as action to tackle what they perceive as unmanageable workloads, pay inequality and insecure contracts across the sector. 

Meetings of UCU branches and UCU's higher education committee have been taking place this week to consider the next steps and dates for action.

What will we be doing?

  • Supporting UCU in their communication directly to students.
  • Asking the University to come to an agreement with the UCU over the two disputes: USS and the ‘Four Fights’.
  • Asking the University to develop an action plan to address these concerns.
  • Offering support to students running activities in support of the UCU.

What will we be doing to support students’ education?

As a Students’ Union, it is our responsibility to act in the interests of our membership, you – the students. In addition to the actions to support UCU’s industrial action and stance outlined above, we will work to mitigate any negative effects on your educational experience.

Should further strike action be announced, we will maintain an open dialogue with the University to ensure you still meet the learning outcomes for all of your courses and you are supported in your education. We will also work to ensure that students are not disadvantaged or penalised as a result of any potential strike action.