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University and College Union Ballot results

08 Nov 2021

Statement from a University of Manchester spokesperson

Uni Manchester John Owens

"It is deeply regrettable that University and College Union (UCU) members have voted for strike action. We do recognise how important pensions, pay and employment conditions are to colleagues and we take those views very seriously. However, inevitably any kind of industrial action causes serious disruption for our community, and particularly our students, after such an extended period of pandemic upheaval.

"There were two ballots which eligible members of UCU voted upon.

"In the ballot on changes to the USS pension arrangement, our turnout was 49.95% of eligible UCU members, so failed to reach the legal 50% threshold required to give a mandate for strike action. 78% (807 staff) of those who voted were in favour of strike action. In total, we have about 6,300 USS members across the University.

"In the separate vote on pay and employment conditions, the turnout of eligible UCU members was 50.4%, so just exceeding the 50% threshold. 74% (728 staff) of those voting in this ballot were in favour of strike action, yet we have a total of over 12,000 staff across the University all of whom are affected by pay and conditions.  

"Pay and pensions, are negotiated nationally by UCEA and UUK respectively, so we are unable to make any changes at a local, Manchester level. We continue to work hard to address other aspects of employment which were raised in the ballot such as the nature of contracts and gender and ethnicity pay gaps.

"We do not yet have confirmation on what or when action will be taken by UCU, or indeed if further ballots will happen at a local or national level. This may become clearer in the coming days with UCU’s Higher Education Committee meeting on Friday 12 November. It remains our hope that action can be avoided.

"We will of course keep colleagues fully informed as we receive more clarity. We’d like to reassure our students that we will do everything we can to minimise any impact on their teaching, learning and wider experience and will communicate further details as soon as we have them."