Post-92 academics to vote on pensions strike

University and College Union members in newer universities will be given a “consultative ballot” on whether to reject the government’s latest pensions offer and strike again.

February 10, 2012

The union’s national executive committee today held a meeting to discuss next steps on the public sector Teachers’ Pension Scheme, which covers academics in post-1992 universities.

Last month, a majority of the NEC – including members of the influential UCU Left group – overturned recommendations from general secretary Sally Hunt to hold a fresh ballot on the government’s latest offer before striking.

The UCU Left’s push to strike without another ballot was widely seen as an attempt to lead other, larger unions into continued strikes against the government. The UCU Left argued that the union already had a mandate to strike from its previous ballot.

Today the NEC “withdrew its previous call for rolling strikes in February and a strike on 1 March”, a UCU spokesman said.

“UCU members will now be asked if they agree with the NEC’s recommendation to reject the government’s offer and if they will back more strikes, starting with a one-day national stoppage at the end of March.”

Supporters of Ms Hunt – who is currently battling with UCU Left candidate Mark Campbell in the general secretary election – said it was a victory for her stance that members should be given a vote.

But Mr Campbell said today’s NEC votes were unanimous, adding that he wished to “make it clear that our members survey is what some are calling a ‘consultative ballot’. This is not a statutory industrial ballot on our dispute.

“The NEC was again unanimous in its view that our current industrial action ballot mandate holds. This is therefore a survey of members to see if they agree with our suggested way forward in that continuing industrial dispute.”

Ms Hunt said: “The government’s proposals still come up short, even after repeated attempts by the education unions, over months of hard negotiation, to win protection for pensions.

“UCU is always stronger when we seek our members’ views before acting so I am personally delighted that the NEC has now agreed to a consultative ballot, and that what we do next will be decided by our members themselves.”

john.morgan@tsleducation.com

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