No sellout. Keep up the action. Strike to win

Jo Grady has today upped the stakes in her attempt to call off action and capitulate in our UCURising disputes.

While many of us were marching alongside striking teachers, civil servants and junior doctors, and while Jo Grady was herself delivering a rousing speech at the rally in Trafalgar Square, UCU HQ was emailing members to invite them to vote in an ‘informal’ e-ballot on an ‘offer’ from the employers.

There is no new offer from the employers. The pay award rejected by 80% of UCU members a few weeks ago has not changed and remains imposed by the employers. The hopes that USS benefit cuts will be reversed during the next year remain hopes rather than firm commitments.

The only additional elements that Jo Grady can point to are a series of agreed terms of reference for talks on casualisation (contract types), pay equality and workloads. These represent nothing more than a commitment from UCEA to discuss these issues over the coming months. They come with no promises that any HE institution will implement anything that may come out of these talks.

Jo Grady is selling this ‘offer’ as a major breakthrough. It is nothing of the sort, and the General Secretary knows it. If it were, she would not need to work so hard to convince members.

The ‘informal’ e-ballot represents a manipulation of democracy of the worst kind. According to the rules of the union, it is the elected Higher Education Committee (HEC), and HEC alone which decides whether an offer in an HE dispute should be put to members to be accepted or rejected. If HEC decides to put it to members, it should make a clear recommendation to members as to which way to vote.

Jo Grady has gone over the heads of the HEC to try and end the dispute at all costs. She is hoping that confusion and strike fatigue among members combined with her misrepresentation of the ‘offer’ will deliver a big enough Yes vote in this ‘informal’ ballot to pressure HEC into calling off next week’s strikes and ending the dispute.

We should have none of this. Many branches have urged their members not to vote until branch meetings take place which can discuss the situation, decide on their position and elect delegates to the BDM to represent their collective view.

We need the strongest possible expression of opposition to Jo Grady’s attempt to capitulate to the employers. The BDM must decisively throw out this ‘offer’. Members should attend the lobby of the HEC meeting at Carlow Street at 1.30 on Friday called by UCU Left members of HEC.

Our sister union, Unison, has taken the decision that the offer is so poor that it is not worth putting to their members. UCU HEC should take the same decision and refuse to call off the strikes.

UCU Left pre-BDM Open Meeting

2pm Thursday 16th March

Zoom registration

Read UCU Left’s statement from this morning here:

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