University of Exeter staff vote in support of strike action

| University of Exeter/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

UCU-affiliated staff at the University of Exeter have voted in favour of industrial action in a series of ballots held by the University and College Union (UCU).

Thirty-six universities, including staff at the University of Exeter, backed strike action over pay and working conditions, while twenty-four have backed action concerning cuts to pensions.

79.5% of UCU members polled overall backed strike action over pension cut disputes, while 74% of members back action over pay and working conditions. Both ballots saw an increase in support compared to votes held in November last year.

At the University of Exeter, almost 84% of UCU-affiliated staff members voted in favour of strike action for pension cuts, while over 79% backed action over pay and working conditions.

Turnout reached 51.74%, which passed the legal 50% threshold required for industrial action to take place.

Industrial action last took place at Exeter in early 2020 when seventy-four universities organised two weeks of strikes. Ballots in Exeter have since shown support for strike action but previously failed to cross the 50% turnout threshold.

At Falmouth University, turnout for the pay and working conditions ballot was 37.41%, with nearly 85% in support of strike action. However, with turnout below the 50% threshold, no industrial action will take place at the university.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said the results are “a damning indictment of the way vice-chancellors run universities and treat their staff”.

“University vice chancellors should be under no illusion at how disgusted staff are at the attacks on their pensions. The cuts are unjust, unnecessary and with eight in ten staff voting in favour of strike action it is clear the anger has not gone away”.

In a university-wide email to Exeter students, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Quine said, “we are working to do all we can to ensure any disruption to your studies is kept to a minimum”.

“We would also like to assure you that since the ballots were announced in March, we’ve been working closely with the Students’ Guild and Students’ Union to ensure any measures we take to protect your experience and academic outcomes are the right ones for you and your course”.

More information for students on the upcoming industrial action is available here.