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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 September 2018
University pay ballot: vote yes for strike action!
Sheffield university UCU strikers, 13.3.18, photo Alistair Tice (Click to enlarge)
Unison higher education member
The vast majority of union members at virtually all universities across the UK are being balloted for strike action over pay.
Members of the two largest campus unions, UCU and Unison, are being asked to reject the "final" offer of 2% or £425, since it falls far short of inflation and does nothing to address the real-term cuts in pay which lecturers, administrators, technicians, caretakers and cleaners have put up with for over a decade.
These national, coordinated ballots represent a real opportunity to show vice-chancellors that higher education workers, alongside students, have had enough.
Changes to university funding have created current and future impoverishment for a generation of young people, while universities at all levels are increasingly having to compete with each other for students, often in races to build the shiniest new buildings (see Leicester UCU article below).
This creeping marketisation is pushing universities to outsource services, dismantle pension schemes and exploit an increasingly casualised workforce. Vice-chancellors, meanwhile, are busy enriching themselves and their mates.
UCU is building on its dramatic success in the universities' pension battle, which taught many activists valuable lessons about how a dispute can be fought.
Unison is balloting on an aggregate basis, which means that a turnout of at least 50% is required across all the members balloted to allow legal strike action.
This approach represents a massive risk, particularly given the mixed strength of Unison's activist base across university branches and the obstacles placed in the way of activists by Tory anti-trade union legislation.
However, getting the vote out is possible if branches make a concerted effort to explain the issues to members.
Unison nationally needs to put resources and effort into delivering the turnout along with a confident yes vote, building on the support of students for workers fighting back.
In turn, we need to show that organised higher education workers support an end to tuition fees and stand for a fully funded and free education system at all levels.
Building unity between students and higher education workers, as shown by the UCU pensions dispute, is key to winning this battle.
- UCU and Unison's ballots close on 19 and 25 October respectively
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In The Socialist 19 September 2018:
Labour Party conference
Blairites must go
The struggle to transform Labour
Momentum's 'The World Transformed' blocks discussion on Liverpool council struggle
Socialist Party news and analysis
Big drugs companies dodge £3 billion pounds in tax
250,000 families in "non-decent" homes
Bezos housing hypocrisy
Rail rip-off reversal
What we saw
International socialist news and analysis
South Africa: new workers' formations herald fightback against Ramaphosa's capitalist agenda
Catalonia: 'Diada' 2018 an immense show of strength for republic
Mobilise mass student fightback
Socialist Students campaigns at Hull freshers fair
Workplace news and analysis
POA walkout over government failure to make prisons safe
RMT strikers ready to up the ante over rail safety
University pay ballot: vote yes for strike action!
Birmingham home carers' protest demo
York health workers say no to privatisation
Liverpool airport workers demand decent pay
Leicester UCU fights redundancies
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Join our Socialist sales drive for issue 1011
March to save threatened Liverpool Women's Hospital
Socialists and campaigners protest Leicester NHS cuts
Hundreds of Newcastle United fans attend Mike Ashley Out meeting
Huddersfield Socialist Party opposes racist EDL
Lewisham: binning the rates rise
How Irish strikers fought apartheid - and establishment anti-apartheid leadership
The Socialist inbox
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