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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

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.

Success

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.

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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


Socialist Students

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


Opinion

How Irish strikers fought apartheid - and establishment anti-apartheid leadership

The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

UCU:

triangleUCU: election victory for combative rank and file

triangleReject the university employers' offer on pay, workload and casualisation

triangleSocialist Students speaking tour

triangleNottingham uni occupation ends

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University:

triangleAfter Scottish government U-turn, Young Socialists fight for a future on A-Level results day

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trianglePay full fees for virtual courses? - No way!

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triangleStrike wave marks new stage in revival of Iranian workers' movement

Pay:

triangleNHS workers: "We deserve a fair wage" - 15% now!

triangleAngry health workers demand 15% now!

Unison:

triangleReinstate Tony Smith

Higher Education:

triangleStudents and workers out together on Budget Day, 11 March

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