Branches wanted ‘Revise and Resubmit’, but HEC votes to put the UUK deal to members.
Now vote No and continue the fight. #RejectUUKDeal
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HEC has voted to move to immediately ballot members on the UUK proposals. All UCU Left members voted against the proposal.
Overwhelmingly branches believe the current offer is insufficient to put out to ballot of members. More than half of branches held meetings, consulted through ballots and email consultations and mandated delegates to vote for further clarification over the employers proposals before a ballot on the proposals went to members.
Additional information and movement by UUK and the Pension Regulator reported to the meeting verbally, while welcome, as is more positive words from the employers, demonstrates that the current proposal is not the final version.
Branch after branch reported similar experiences: initial support and indication that the employers were finally listening to members, increasing scepticism as the detail was examined, and an increasing desire to engage in further talks, #ReviseAndResubmit being the common hashtag. Some branch delegates suggested the additional verbal report and a letter from UUK provided on the day suggested these clarifications were sufficient for now moving to ballot members – but very many others argued for further clarifications.
A good number of branches recorded majority votes for insisting that the union should go back to the UUK and demand a ‘no detriment’ clause in the agreement. This would mean that the employers would accept they could not make detrimental changes to USS from the point of view of members in the current valuation round.
The lack of trust in the employers is a uniform theme throughout the union. Members also identified a belief that job cuts are now becoming a focus of employers such as Liverpool and Open University, as they lose ground in the fight over pensions.
UCU Left members submitted motions to the HEC calling for negotiators to return to UUK with further demands. These included proposals for changing the valuation framework, addressing employers’ historic contribution reductions, protecting casualised staff, demanding a ‘no detriment’ clause after April 2019, and insisting that any ballot would need to be timed to come after a decision of the USS Board and the Pension Regulator. They also submitted motions on creating a clear process and on transparency in industrial decision making. The chair asserted (illogically) that all of these motions would fall if the HEC passed the report from officials.
HEC voted by a small majority to pass the HEC report to move to a ballot immediately. All UCU Left members voted against the HEC report. The chair then ruled that motions submitted by other HEC members therefore fell and were not voted on.
Carlo Morelli and Sean Wallis
Acceptance of HEC proposal – For 10: Against 8 (UCU Left): Abstentions 1