Last Friday, The University and College Union (UCU) conducted a ballot poll to assess the members willingness to take industrial action consisting of a strike.
This follows a proposed closure of a final salary pension scheme (PASNAS) at the University, which would effect over 2,000 employees such as exam officers, librarians and caterers.
The results for the University of Southampton branch of the union, which represents lecturers and academic staff, demonstrated a strong majority vote in favour of striking.
In the ballot they were asked the question: Are you prepared to take industrial action consisting of strike action?
Result of Voting
Yes 637 – 87.5%
No 91 – 12.5%
Number of spoilt or otherwise invalid voting papers returned – 2
Number of votes cast in the ballot – 728
Votes cast in the ballot as a % of individuals who were entitled to vote – 66.6%
Following the results, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said in a message to UCU members:
The results provide a very strong mandate for UCU to continue the fight for a decent, guaranteed pension. The turnout across all institutions averaged more than 58% (a record), with 88% voting for strike action and 93% for action short of a strike.
Just seven branches out of the sixty-eight balloted failed to achieve the required 50% turnout figure to take action. It should be noted that even in these branches members voted overwhelmingly for action.
The UCU’s Higher Education Committee are set to meet today to consider the ballot results and will provide updates later on.
The university spokesperson reported to the daily echo that Southampton was one of the several universities affected by the increasing cost of pensions due to increased life expectancy and historically low interest rates. The university has since launched a consultation which will run until March 13th.