Our ballot for industrial action has started!

Our ballot for industrial action started yesterday.

MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!

This is a postal ballot, as required by law. UCU members at the University of Birmingham should now have received their ballot paper in the post.

We must reach the 50% threshold in order to be able to take action, as also required by law, to ensure that we can work safely and without the extreme levels of anxiety that we have been working under during this term. Over 80% of members agree that we must move our teaching and working online – now we need to act collectively, by voting for the official industrial action, in order to make that happen.

The planned industrial action will consist of us teaching and working online-only, except where this proves impossible, regardless of whether or not the University management agree to this entirely reasonable action. Of course, we hope that the University management will agree – but if they do not then the industrial action will give us the option to take matters into our own hands.

We will of course be seeking to resolve this dispute in negotiations with the University management – our hope is that we can agree a compromise. The most reasonable thing for the management to agree would be that anyone who wishes to, and can, work online will do that. Those who agree to work on-campus could agree to do that instead. If this were agreed to, there would be a very real possibility of resolving this dispute. We have, and will continue to, put this suggestion to the University management.

We cannot, however, rely on the University management’s good will. We must have the option of official industrial action. To give an idea of what we are dealing with, the formal submission made by the Provost and the Director of Human Resources, as part of ongoing negotiations, accused us of neither caring for students nor considering the implications for staff, when clearly it is their decisions that have put students and staff in harm’s way. The idea that it is us, the University staff and representatives, that have no consideration for student or staff wellbeing, is deeply insulting, and gives an insight into the mindset of our out-of-touch University management.

Vote YES to action short of strike – moving teaching and working to online-only as the default. Vote YES to strike action as a protective measure in case we are threatened with pay deductions.

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