UCU is currently balloting members on two ballots for industrial action. One ballot on pay, workload, casualisation and gender pay; and the other for members in the USS pension scheme. The union is working hard to secure ‘yes’ votes for both strike action and action short of strike in both ballots. Branches too are working tirelessly to ensure that the turnout is over the 50% required by legislation to allow members to push for better pay, working conditions and a fair pension. This blog post contains some of the highlights of the work taking place now and which members will continue to do in the run up to the ballot closing on 30 October.
Members from 8 branches from around Scotland met at the STUC in Glasgow in late August at a co-ordinating event called ‘Biting the Ballot’. After hearing an introduction from UCU Scotland president Carlo Morelli, the meeting heard from the union’s Scotland official Mary Senior along with the union’s Marion Hersh and Tim Wilson. The meeting also looked in detail at how to maximise turnout, hearing from Heriot-Watt branch who in the 2018 ballot managed to get turnout up to 64%. Following the presentations branches split into groups and identified key tasks to allow them to make their own get the vote out (GTVO) plans more successful. The weeks since have seen branches put this work into practice encouraging members to vote yes for action in all the ballots and drive up turnout over the 50% mark.
18 September saw Scotland play host to a ballot briefing where members heard from UCU’s general secretary Jo Grady. The multi-branch event, held again at the STUC in Glasgow, was well attended with branches going in depth into the substance and cause of the disputes and feeding back to the union nationally about the strength of feeling locally. As well as addressing the briefing, Jo Grady also visited branches across Scotland as part of her national tour. She met with members and addressed meetings in branches at Dundee, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Strathclyde and Glasgow universities. Below are some pictures from the meetings:
The next few weeks will be critical in ensuring that we get the turnout and result we need to defend the USS pension and for a fair pay award and action on equality, workload and job security. For help and advice on GTVO work in your branch contact UCU Scotland Branch Development Officer Mike Williamson on firstname.lastname@example.org