Poll position is impossible

June 11, 2009

The fanciful speculation about the University and College Union ballot is entertaining ("Lack of support led to dropped ballot", 4 June). It is regrettable, however, that your secretive informer is in a position to admit membership of the union's higher education committee. Members of the committee do not publish their discussions in the press, nor provide accounts (however distorted) of closed sessions of its conferences. Clearly, given the inaccuracy of the information, they cannot have been a member for long.

The suggestion that the ballot was suspended because of lack of support is absurd. No one knew about the level of support for the action, unless the Times Higher Education's informer had magical powers or unlawful access to a mole in the Electoral Reform Society. The ballot was neither concluded nor counted, nor was its suspension a response to co-ordinated legal challenges to the UCU from employers.

The real reason is that the union suffered systems errors that needed to be resolved before the ballot proceeded. The resolution will be completed by the autumn.

Tom Hickey, UCU higher education committee.

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