Papers in the UCU ballot need to be returned by 30 October.
It would be really useful if you could let your departmental rep know when you’ve voted, so we can get an idea of turnout.
You will have papers for two separate ballots:
- The first is over pensions. We won a big victory with last year’s strike, securing guaranteed pensions and agreeing with Universities UK on an independent Joint Expert Panel to decide on the next steps. That panel has now reported, with conclusions largely supportive of the Union’s position, but Universities UK wants us to accept a deal significantly worse than the panel recommended, with substantial extra contributions required from us.
- The second covers pay, but also perhaps more importantly workload, casualisation and pay inequality. As well as another pay rise which doesn’t keep up with increases in the cost of living, recent years have seen a big increase in the use of casual and precarious staff in higher education, rising workloads, and too little action taken on inequalities in pay.
The Durham UCU branch would encourage you to vote ‘Yes’ to taking action on both of these issues. This gives our negotiators the maximum possible leverage and maximises the chances of being able to improve the deal both on pensions and on pay, workload and casualisation.
We understand if you disagree, but if so, we’d ask you please to return your ballot and vote ‘No’, so this decision can be made democratically rather than failing by default on lack of turnout. The union-busting legislation passed in 2017 means that any ballot with under 50% turnout is invalid. If the University believes we can’t successfully get this turnout, this will affect union influence on all university decisions, and mean we can’t get the best deal for you in negotiations.