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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 March 2011

UCU members vote for action on pensions, jobs and pay

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) - which represents academic and academic-related staff at Higher and Further Education institutions - have voted strongly in favour of industrial action in opposition to attacks on pensions. Members have also voted to back action over job security and pay.

In a dual ballot for the pre-1992 universities, members voted 65% in favour of strike action to defend pensions on the basis of a 36% turnout. In the same ballot, members voted 82% in favour of action short of a strike. In the second ballot, members voted 53% in support of strike action with a 34% turnout, and 74% in support of action short of a strike, to defend pay and jobs. Members working in Further Education are also being balloted over pensions and job security, although at the time of writing the results of this ballot have not been announced.

These results indicate that there is a clear mood for action amongst the membership over the issue of pensions, and that members are also riled over the issues of pay and job security. However, while the union should continue to fight on pay, the union should organise a campaign of strike action over pensions.

Given the strength of feeling among members over pensions, the Socialist Party argues that the union should show that it is serious about action over pensions.

On the basis of the ballot result, and given the mood amongst the membership, there is a real possibility of the UCU forcing the employer to back down.

The union has announced a "rolling plan of action", starting in Scotland on 17 March and culminating in a UK day of action on 24 March. Student Socialist Party members will be mobilising students to join the picket lines and will do all they can to build solidarity with striking UCU members.

James Naish, UCU, personal capacity

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In The Socialist 9 March 2011:


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