We are facing significant challenges both at this institution and in the sector generally. The way we can flex our muscles and be heard is to express ourselves through our ballot for industrial action in respect of the USS pension. You will have seen emails from our Gen Sec indicating that there has been some movement nationally on the part of the employers’ associations over pay & conditions and pensions (UCEA and UUK respectively).
For those who may be new to UCU or unions generally, you may not know that in order to be able to take industrial action in respect of any dispute, we need by law to ensure at least 50% of our members vote. Voting takes place by postal ballot. During the last ballot, we achieved more than 50% turnout in respect of the pay and conditions dispute, but a shade under 50% for the pensions dispute (49.71%). This meant that when we took strike action last month (and indeed our action short of a strike at the moment), our action was limited to the dispute over pay & conditions. Other universities were able to strike in relation to both pay & conditions and the USS pensions. It would considerably strengthen our bargaining power both nationally and locally, if we can achieve an above 50% turnout in the re-ballot.
For those who may be unaware, UCU HQ has decided to re-ballot a number of institutions, including Kent, where the vote was close. We need everyone to use their vote this time. Your future during your retirement hangs on this issue. Winning our dispute will mean that we avoid a likely £10,000 p.a. cut in our old age. Winning will also be a win for this University, as it will also mean the contributions it has to make to our scheme will be kept down. Please read the emails from HQ relating to the pensions dispute.
If you have lost/mislaid your ballot paper, please order a new one by using this link: https://www.ucu.org.uk/ballotrequest
PLEASE USE YOUR VOTE, WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE USS scheme. And PLEASE VOTE YES TO STRIKE ACTION AND ACTION SHORT OF A STRIKE.
Sian, Owen, Phil and Mark
UCU Branch reps