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Results of UCU ballots for industrial action and next steps for Warwick

We’ve received the result of the recent UCU ballot on pay and conditions. As with the separate ballot on USS pension proposals announced late last week, the number of votes cast at Warwick did not meet the minimum 50% threshold for action. That means that the UCU will not take industrial action, or action short of strike, on either of these matters at Warwick.

I know that this is a difficult situation for us all. I also know that this news will be received with relief by so many of our students, particularly after the challenges they have already faced in studying during the height of the Covid pandemic. The impact of any industrial action would fall on our students – classes cancelled, removal of uploaded teaching materials, exams disrupted, scripts and assessments unmarked and more months of uncertainty.

This is not a simple dispute about our own University arrangements or finances. On pensions, USS covers over 340 higher education institutions. Negotiations have taken place, and can only take place, at a national level, despite the ballot for industrial action being organised on a local level. Industrial action will not change the fact that reform is needed to ensure that benefits built up in the future are provided at an affordable cost to both USS employers and members.

In order to help colleagues make informed decisions about USS and the proposals that you will be consulted on, we are holding staff briefing sessions in the next few weeks. Please do join these and share your questions.

On pay, whilst Warwick is on a sound financial footing, we have supported the UCEA proposals to ensure pay is affordable for the sector. Again, this is a national issue - not one that Warwick can manage independently.

I’m sharing the results of the UCU ballots because I believe it’s important for us all to reflect on these. On USS, turnout was c. 44% of the 1003 members. 442 members cast a vote. Of these votes, 342 individuals (34% of total membership) were in favour of strike action.

On the pay and conditions dispute, the turnout was also c.44%, and the proportion of the total membership who voted in favour of strike action was 32%, or 325 votes.

In both cases, as less than 50% of the total membership voted, there isn’t mandate to take action. It is a product of current trade union legislation that many individuals actively choose not to cast their vote if they don’t support the Union position precisely because they don’t wish to enable the Union to achieve the 50% or more threshold required.

The matter of industrial action over these issues at Warwick should now be resolved. I hope that it will now enable us to work together with UCU on the issues at the heart of this dispute: the long term future of the pension scheme, and on the pay and conditions that work for our sector. Whilst we do so, we can also continue to work together at Warwick to ensure our students receive the education and experience that they deserve.


Stuart Croft
Vice-Chancellor and President

9 November 2021

Full breakdown of UCU ballot results November 2021

Are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of strike action?
  Membership Turnout % Turnout Voted Yes % Yes

% Yes (as % of membership)

USS Dispute 1003 442 44.1 342 77.6 34.1
Pay/Conditions 1003 445 44.4 325 73.0 32.4
Are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of action short of a strike?
  Membership Turnout % Turnout Voted Yes % Yes % Yes (as % of membership)
USS Dispute 1003 442 44.1 380 86.2 37.9
Pay/Conditions 1003 445 44.4 375 84.3 37.4