Hi everyone, we hope your first semester is going well and you are enjoying enrichment week. We as a sabb team just wanted to give you a quick update on the potential industrial action from UCU (University and College Union) that you may have heard about recently.
Over the past couple of months, UCU have planned to ballot their members on taking industrial action this semester. They put out two ballots to their members, one on the USS pensions scheme and a second on what they call ‘the four fights’ - pay, equality, casualisation and workload. These ballots were released to members on 18th October.
At the end of last week, the results from the two ballots were released. In order for the result of a union ballot to be binding, the voter turnout must be 50% or higher than the total members of the union branch. For the Newcastle University branch of UCU, the pensions ballot had 49.5% voter turnout, whilst the ‘four fights’ ballot had 49.9% turnout. Therefore, although the majority of those who voted were in favour of industrial action, as the turnout did not reach the required 50%, industrial action at Newcastle University will not take place currently.
However, as the turnout was so close to the required 50%, UCU may choose to re-ballot their branches who were close to the 50% threshold. This will likely be decided by UCU on 12th November. We will update you as soon as we can on the outcome of these talks.
Should industrial action take place this academic year, as determined by Student Council we will still put out our poll to the student body to decide NUSU’s stance however, whatever NUSU’s stance, mitigation will remain our key priority. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email one of us.
Update: As of 25/11/2021
Along with 41 other universities, staff at Newcastle University will be re-balloted on industrial action between 6th December and 14th January. If the re-ballot is successful, it is likely that staff at Newcastle University will join nationwide industrial action next term.