The University and College Union (UCU) has suspended its ballot for industrial action over pay and job security until autumn.
Following notification that 78 higher education (HE) employers intend to use anti-trade union laws against UCU, the union has announced that it is suspending the ballot for industrial action that had be due this month. The union had sent ballot papers to members earlier this month for strike action, after a failure of the University and College Employers Association (UCEA) to assure the unions that jobs in HE would be secured and over demands for a 8% pay-rise for all staff in HE.
The UCU and other unions in HE had already rejected a 'derisory' 0.3% pay offer which they felt was all the more insulting given university senior managers and vice-chancellors had received average 5.5% and 9% pay rises in the last year respectively. Last month it was announced that two-thirds of higher education institutions in the UK intended to cut jobs in the upcoming year.
UCU are looking a national agreement on the security of jobs in HE and in a communication to members, general secretary Sally Hunt said:
Further national-level talks are scheduled for this week. I hope that the
employers’ put as much effort into seeking a negotiated solution to the
unions’ claims for a new national job-security agreement and for a fair
approach on pay, as they have on seeking to undermine our internal processes.
We will continue to work closely with our colleagues to pressure the employers
to agree national principles to treat staff fairly; and to settle this year's
In the communication, Hunt also cited a software problem of their member list which may have resulted in some members not receiving ballot papers.