Unanimous UCU branch vote to accept pay deal

Marking boycott called off as 2 per cent offer accepted

May 8, 2014

Source: Alamy

Done deal: UCU members vote overwhelmingly in favour of 2 per cent offer

Not one branch of the University and College Union voted against a 2 per cent pay deal that has ended a lengthy industrial dispute.

The UCU officially called off its marking boycott, which was due to start this week, after its members overwhelmingly backed a pay offer for 2014-15 from employers.

Almost 84 per cent of members who took part in the ballot wanted to accept the deal, with just 16 per cent voting to reject it and fight on.

According to the UCU, which has published a breakdown of results by institution, every union branch voted in favour of the offer, despite the fact that it failed to improve pay for this year – the root cause of the dispute.

Even traditionally militant union branches – many of whose executive committees urged their members to reject the offer – decided to accept the 2 per cent deal for next year.

Soas, University of London had the highest rate of members who voted to reject the offer, but still only 45.7 per cent wanted to turn the deal down.

At Goldsmiths, University of London, 42.7 per cent voted to reject, while the figure was 39.5 per cent at the University of Brighton.

Meanwhile, more than 95 per cent of members at many branches – even 100 per cent of members at smaller institutions – voted in favour of the proposed deal.

Jimmy Donaghey, vice-chair of the UCU’s higher education committee (HEC), which confirmed on 2 May that “the dispute is over”, said support for the offer vindicated the decision to consult members.

“It is notable that even in those institutions that had general meetings or branch committees advocating rejection, all voted to accept,” said Dr Donaghey, who is a former UCU branch secretary at the University of Warwick.

In a swipe at the UCU Left, which has criticised the HEC for its handling of the industrial action, he added that there were “major questions to be answered for branch leaders who are on a completely different page to the bulk of the members”.

However, the UCU Left said union members were unwilling to fight on, owing to “a lack of leadership” from the HEC after it failed to escalate strike action into a marking boycott in January.

In a leaflet distributed by UCU Left, published on 5 May, the group also bemoans the committee’s failure to recommend to members that they reject the 2 per cent deal as it embarked on the ballot.

“Members were left in an invidious position in deciding whether to vote for continuing with a poorly led dispute or accepting a poor deal,” the leaflet says.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

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Reader's comments (1)

A UCU Member associated with UCU-L wishing to rubbish the result of the ballot said, "Mistakes were made but I think it is a fairly conventional union in a fairly conventional profession in a fairly conventional country. And its national leadership mostly reflects that and is quite dumb" which seems to imply that UCU's leadership and those who elected them are stupid. If that's true about about our university academics then what about the rest of us ?

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