Socialist Worker

UCU pay ballot narrowly lost—but the fight goes on

by Sean Vernell, UCU executive (personal capacity)
Issue No. 2184

Further and adult education lecturers in the UCU union have narrowly voted not to strike against a 1.5 percent pay offer.

The ballot was lost by just 132 votes. 49.1 percent voted to take action while 50.9 percent voted against on a 27 percent turnout.

The impact of cuts in education funding and mounting job losses means that some lecturers feel that pay is not the issue to fight on at the moment.

Some UCU officials lack the confidence to fight over pay—in line with the majority of the trade union bureaucracy.

Despite this, almost 50 percent of those who participated voted for a hard-hitting campaign of escalating industrial action.

Activists convinced their branches to vote for a fight over pay by framing the argument in a wider context. They highlighted the £1.4 billion in college reserves and the billions spent on bailing out bankers that could be spend on better pay for lecturers.

Colleges where this discussion happened are now in a good position to oppose job losses and defend education.

Unfortunately, there were not enough activists arguing for this to win the vote.

The fight to defend further, adult and higher education will be launched on Tuesday 26 January at the UCU’s lobby of parliament.

UCU Left members will be redoubling their efforts to ensure that the turn out for the lobby is as big as possible.

The elections for vice president and national executive committee positions also provides an opportunity to vote for those who won’t be afraid to lead such a fight.

Every activist should build the biggest vote possible for UCU Left candidates and use the elections to widen their network of activists.

Go to » for details of the lobby

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Article information

Tue 12 Jan 2010, 18:09 GMT
Issue No. 2184
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