The background to the current industrial action is complex. The University and College Union (UCU) is undertaking industrial action in relation to two national disputes. The first is on pay and working conditions. The second dispute relates to ongoing discussions about the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the main pension scheme for academic and academic-related staff in higher education.
These matters affect universities across the UK, and they can only be resolved through collective negotiations at a national level; consequently, we are unable to resolve them locally with our local UCU branch.
The UCU held two separate ballots in September, one on pay and one on pensions, and asked its members if they were prepared to support strike action and action short of strike. The UCU is a national trade union but the ballots were conducted at local branch level.
The local Reading branch of the UCU represents approximately 700 members, just over 16% of our total staff of 4,300. In the two recent ballots, the results were:
- On pay: 394 of the 711 eligible members voted
68.02% of these voted in favour of strike action
80.46% of these in favour of action short of strike
- On pensions: 390 of the 706 eligible members voted
72.31% of these voted in favour of strike action
84.1% of these voted in favour of action short of strike