Dispute Update

Dear members,

This is a message concerning the results of the re-ballot over pensions, the results of which came in last week, and the announcement of further industrial action at the national level.

As many of you will know, the 2016 trade union act requires union votes to meet a 50 per cent threshold to be valid. Unfortunately, we fell short of this threshold by 26 votes in the recent re-ballot on the pensions dispute. This means that we cannot pursue strike action with colleagues elsewhere in the country to defend members’ pensions.

Given all the upheaval here at Kent associated with the ongoing reorganisation as well as the proposed redundancies and cuts, we understand that many members and colleagues have local concerns uppermost in their mind. The Kent branch has made clear to management that it will vigorously fight to defend members’ jobs and interests at the local level as well as the national level.

With respect to the national dispute, given that the employers have not moved sufficiently to meet union demands on questions of casualization and pay – two of the four fights over which we went on strike last year – the union has called for more strike action, with 14 days of walk-outs over the period covering 20 February to 13 March.

We are part of this national dispute, and therefore will be pursuing this national dispute with our colleagues at 69 other institutions up and down the country, to force the employers to make concessions to address the scandal of precarity and low pay in the sector.

The branch committee and reps are drawing up a plan of action as part of the national dispute. To this end we will have an emergency branch meeting on Monday 10 February 1-2pm (venue tbc). Please come along to give us your views and thoughts and prepare for further strike action.

In solidarity,

Philip Cunliffe, vice-president of Kent UCU branch, Sian Lewis-Anthony, Owen Lyne, Mark Dean