We’ve done it again! Our branch has beaten the undemocratic turnout threshold with a majority of members voting and an (almost) four to one vote in favour of taking strike action to oppose the August 2021 imposed pay rise (real-terms pay cut.)
Thanks to everyone who voted, especially those who made an extra effort to get a replacement ballot paper.
There was a concern that everything was against us: balloting over Christmas/New Year, balloting months after the imposition of the offer, messages from UEB abusing their uni-info privileges to try to get people not to vote, Christmas post taking ages or going missing etc., but once again, even though it was close, we’ve demonstrated that our members genuinely care about pay and want UNISON to do what we can about it.
Our branch committee meets tomorrow (Wednesday 2nd) to discuss the next steps. As part of a national dispute to put pressure on UCEA (the national employers’ organisation) to re-visit their 1.5% in the light of workers taking action and the size of the real-terms reduction, we are obliged to follow the national lead , but we have some leeway in determining our own strategy. This mandate allows us to take action, again alongside UCU, if possible (they are striking over pay on 21st, 22nd, 28th February and 1st and 2nd March).
We’ve already accepted that the University of Brighton does not have the finances to easily give us the pay rise we deserve, but this does not alter the fact that we can’t accept continuous pay cuts. Our dispute with the national employers’ organisation demands proper funding for universities and their employees.
Members will know that we’re still in dispute over the 2020-21 pay freeze and have agreed to talk about the working week and annual leave to settle this. We expect UEB to honour their agreement to do this on the basis that we agreed not to take further strike action as part of that dispute.
Our campaign for pay justice continues with potential action over 2021-22 unless, of course, UCEA would like to make a more realistic offer to alleviate some of the falling pay, which our members clearly want to campaign against.