Chi Uni industrial action ballot

Did you hear about the higher education pay offer for 2020/21? No, you didn’t miss it in your pay packet – it was a big fat nothing. A 0% pay rise during the pandemic.

Employers stuck by that figure, which said loud and clear that they think you deserved nothing extra for keeping students safe and supported. Nothing extra for making remote learning a reality. Nothing extra for enabling vital research to continue.

Nothing extra for the toughest year of your working lives.

When vice chancellors told us staff were owed “an enormous debt of gratitude” for their “hard work and commitment”, we hoped that might actually mean something.

So after a year of crushing workloads it was a real insult to see those warm words backed up, in financial terms, with absolutely nothing to speak of.

The employers aren’t going to rethink the August 2020 pay freeze unless we stand firm together.

A ballot paper will be sent to your home address and UNISON recommends that you vote YES to strike for the pay you deserve.

We are holding two member meetings via MS Teams to answer any questions you may have. We will email again with the meeting links, but for now please hold one of these slots in your diary. Ivan Bonsell, Branch Secretary from University of Brighton and on the South East Regional Exec for Higher Education, will be attending.

  • Wednesday 30th June, 12.30-1.00pm
  • Wednesday 30th June, 5.30-6.00pm


When does the pay ballot open and how long is it open for?

There are different ballot dates depending on where you live. In England the ballot runs from 28 June – 10 August.

How do I vote?

You will receive a ballot paper, sent to your home address. To vote you’ll need to complete the ballot paper and return it in the freepost envelope provided.

Look out for your envelope containing your vote – it looks like this:

How about taking a selfie when you pop your vote in the post box? You could share it on your social media using the hashtag #ThanksForNothing. It’s so important that every member uses their vote so make sure your colleagues know about the ballot too!

Remember to post your vote in good time to make sure CES have received it before your ballot closes. The ballots close on 10 August in England.

Is my vote anonymous?

Yes. No-one knows how you voted but you. The ballot is run for UNISON by an independent body called Civica Election Services (CES), formerly the Electoral Reform Society.

What if I haven’t received my ballot paper?

Call UNISON Direct on 0800 0 857 857. They will verify your membership and contact CES to issue you with a replacement ballot paper. The ballot hotline is open from 6 July to 12pm on 4 August for the England ballots.

Why are you running a pay ballot?

On 1 August 2020 the university employers imposed a pay freeze: no pay rise after all your hard work during the pandemic.

UNISON members were consulted on this pay freeze and 86% voted to reject the pay freeze.

UNISON believes that members working in higher education deserve better – you deserve a decent pay rise for the past year. That’s why UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group Executive decided to ask branches to participate in the ballots. And that’s why we’re asking you, our members, to vote for strike action.

A vote for action will send a strong message, to your employer and to the national higher education employers, to get back round the table to negotiate a fair and decent pay rise for the past year. By standing together and taking voting to take action employers will realise that they can’t continue to take their staff for granted.

When will I find out the results?

In England your branch will be informed of the results after the vote closes on 10 August.

What will the next steps be if a majority vote to strike?

UNISON’s higher education service group executive (HE SGE) will meet to consider the outcome of the ballots to decide how best to take the campaign forward and to provide national coordination for action. Branches will be kept informed and involved in these decisions.

Please join your colleagues in voting to tell your employer that university staff expect decent pay, fair workloads and secure employment.

Vote YES for strike action to remind your employer that you deserve nothing less.