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6th November 2023

UCU reballot fails: no more strikes this term

The UCU had been reballoting for several weeks over the Four Fights: pay, discrimination, workloads, and casualisation
UCU reballot fails: no more strikes this term

There will be no further University and College Union (UCU) strikes this term, after the Union’s re-ballot fell short of the required threshold for voting participation.

While the majority of voters voted in favour of further strike action, total turnout reached only 42%, below the government minimum of 50%.

68% of voters were in favour of further strike action, and 75% in favour of further action short of a strike (ASOS).

The union had been reballoting members to renew a mandate over the “Four Fights”: pay, discrimination, workloads, and casualisation.

In a post to the UCU website written by Jo Grady, the General Secretary of the UCU, the result was described as “bitterly disappointing.”

However, she noted a recent piece by UCEA, that called for “extensive negotiations with [the UCU] on a wide range of issues, including pay, with a view to bringing much needed long-term stability to our sector.”

Grady described the legislation that blocked this round of strike action as “sickening,” declaring the government anti-union.

She decried “that tens of thousands of workers can vote for strike action and have this deemed illegal by a government led by somebody that nobody voted for.”

Before the 2016 Trade Union Act, there was no provision for a turnout requirement, but a 50% provision was added in 2016, along with a 40% total support provision for “important public service.”

At the time, the government that implemented the legislation described it as “a fairer framework for industrial relations” including “effective regulation of trade.” The Trades Union Congress, however, described the legislation as “damaging and divisive.”

The Manchester branch of the UCU has been contacted for comment.

The University has released a statement here. 

Jacob Hartley

Jacob Hartley

co-Managing Editor (News and Current Affairs)

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