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12th April 2022

UoM UCU fails to meet threshold for strike action

The University of Manchester has failed to meet voter turnout numbers to strike over key issues about work and pay conditions and pension cuts.
UoM UCU fails to meet threshold for strike action
UCU strikes. Photo: Simarchy @flickr

Members of the University and College Union at the University of Manchester have not met the threshold required for more strike action over pay, working conditions and cuts to pensions.

In the dispute over pay and working conditions, only 47.91% of individuals eligible to vote over strike action took part, meaning that the University fell short of the 50% requirement by just over 2%.

Despite the low voting numbers, however, those who voted were 79% in favour of performing strike action, and 86% in favour of performing action short of a strike.

The numbers in the dispute over pension cuts were a little higher, the University missing the threshold by just 0.98%, with only 49.2% of those who were entitled to vote actually voting.

However, similarly to the other disputes numbers, of those who voted 82% were in favour of strike action and 87% were in favour of industrial action short of a strike.

The strikes are focused on two main areas of dispute; the USS pension cuts and pay and working conditions.

Cuts were recently implemented by Universities UK which saw the average lecturer lose up to 35% from their future guaranteed retirement income.

Whilst University of Manchester UCU members will not strike, 24 other universities have secured a mandate to take further strike action, joining three other Universities with live strike mandates over pensions. 

The other key dispute is the pay and working conditions, which has already resulted in 13 days of striking this year.

This includes disputes about the gender, race and disability pay gap, as well as salary disputes, which have been worsened by new inflation figures.

The strike also aims to tackle, zero-hours and insecure contracts and unmanageable workloads.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘More than seven in ten UCU members have again voted in favour of strike action, which is a damning indictment of the way vice-chancellors run universities and treat their staff.

‘Pay for university workers has fallen by over a quarter in real-terms since 2009 whilst tens of thousands are exploited on precarious contracts and a workload crisis goes unresolved. Even during this almost unprecedented cost of living crisis, vice-chancellors on eye-watering salaries – who manage institutions sitting on tens of billions of pounds in reserves – have shown zero willingness to listen to their staff and are more intransigent than ever.

‘Our union will now be taking these latest ballot results to a special meeting of its higher education sector where members will discuss how they wish to use this new mandate for action.’


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