Members of the UCU lecturers’ union in higher education are to be balloted from 21 January on new national negotiating arrangements.
The decision to ballot was made by the higher education committee at the end of last term.
The new arrangements will move UCU into a single table bargaining arrangement with other unions in negotiations with the UCEA employers association, and would secure the future of national bargainning.
However the new arrangements include a new negotiating timetable and could place restrictions on the union’s ability to take action during the key May period.
UCU Left members on the higher education committee had pushed for a special conference to discuss the final negotiated package but this was rejected by the majority on the committee.
Members are now to be balloted on a simple yes or no question, but many will support single table bargaining while rejecting any restriction on action.
The ballot timetable also gives very little time to debate this major issue.
Many branches will not have time to meet before ballot papers are sent out.
UCU activists should be making urgent representations to the higher education committee complaining about how the process is being
handled and calling for the suspension of the ballot to enable members to debate the issues.
The future of national bargaining is under threat but no activist will want to see restrictions on the union’s ability to act.
The HEC needs to be put under pressure in the next few days.