UCU Members Vote on Summer Strike Suspension

Cambridge branch exec advises members to hold off until further clarity is presented.

Although University College Union (UCU) members will have the option to vote on postponing the strike scheduled for the summer term, participating universities are urging union members to vote “no.” 

“Like many other branches across the country, the Kent UCU position is to REJECT this proposal. You know why,” the University of Kent’s union branch Tweeted to all union members, signing off with the hashtags of #Solidarity, #RejectUUKDeal, and #VoteNO.

The union’s brigade against Universities UK’s (UUK) proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) began in February, leading to a 14-day walkout from union members across 65 UK college campuses. The proposed changes would shift the scheme from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution, the primary driver of the industrial action.

The latest proposals from UUK, which offer a joint committee of experts to analyze and discuss the valuation and operation of the USS, are being voted on by members from April 4 at noon through April 13 at 2:00 p.m.  As this does not do as much as union members had hoped, they are still aiming to keep up their assertive plans and move forward with the summer’s round of walkouts until proposals in-line with their views are put forth.

“If members accept these proposals then the action for later this term will be suspended,” UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt said in a statement. “If they reject them then there will be 14 more days of action before the summer and a fresh ballot to keep action running in the new academic year.”

Following a meeting organized by SOAS University of London and Goldsmiths union branches, the Cambridge chapter reported its executive suggested balloters refrain from voting until there is more clarity on the situation. Cambridge UCU said it hopes to convene a meeting of branch members sometime next week.

The USS is currently valued at £60 billion ($84.4 billion), with a £12.6 billion deficit.

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