By now members will have been advised of the outcome of the national ballot and also the detail of the local outcome here at Bradford University.
At the national level it is clear that there is overwhelming support from members for action to address the shockingly draconian and damaging posturing of our employers in respect of pensions and benefits, however the local picture appears at least on the face of it to be less conclusive.
There are a couple of facts that one might like to consider:
Firstly, the membership list used in the Bradford ballot included 33 former members of staff, some of whom will have moved to other institutions, others out of the sector altogether. Bradford LA did advise HQ before the opening of the ballot but it appears too late for the data to be fed through to the Electoral Reform Service.
If one assumes that those individuals did not receive a ballot paper (sent to Bradford in error) or were ineligible (not in HE employment), the maths indicates a participation rate of 53%, and not the 48.5% officially reported. It is unfortunate therefore that there appears to be no mechanism to rectify this error.
Secondly, and despite the marginal shortfall in participation, the fact remains that amongst those that DID vote, support for a robust stance on this issue compares well with the rest of the sector.
Bradford UCU Local Association Committee are disappointed that the outcome of this ballot means that Bradford will be legally barred from participating in a national programme of action aimed at defending the pensions of ALL academic and related staff. What is clear however is that the mood at Bradford closely mirrors that of the rest of the sector.
It is regrettable that we have to report that despite a resounding ballot outcome, our employer remains wholly and completely opposed to any compromise, instead insisting that the only solution is a defined contribution scheme and the closure of the defined benefit scheme. Their position was confirmed at a meeting of the Joint Committee this week, where the Chair used the casting vote in support of UUK representatives.
The inevitable consequence of this outcome is that UCU will be exercising its strike mandate.