Steve Cushion, of the London Retired Members’ Branch of the UCU has sent me the following report of the decisions made at the UCU National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Feb 10th in regards to the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS) dispute:
The UCU NEC unanimously agreed to join with our sister trade union the NUT, and the PCS, and therefore to re-schedule our previously agreed date for national strike action from March 1st to March 28th in line with the unanimous decision of their NECs.
We unanimously agreed to conduct a campaigning consultative e-survey of members – as are the NUT and PCS, with a very strong recommendation to agree with the NEC’s decision to reject the Heads of Agreement (HoA) – the so-called ‘final offer’, and to move to further coordinated strike action with our trade union colleagues in other unions.
The NEC agreed we had no need to re-ballot our members with regards to taking industrial action. Such a statutory industrial action ballot, as a few had previously suggested we conduct, would have involved formal membership checks, and notifying the employers of our balloting timetable, categories and numbers of members at each work site, etc, etc – as happened in the USS re-ballot. NEC agreed that such a ballot was not required as we already have sufficient legal mandate for further strike action.
Instead what the NEC has now unanimously agreed is an internal e-survey to see if our members agree with the NEC position that we reject the HoA and agree to take further strike action commencing with a day’s strike on March 28th.
It was agreed that the members e-survey will commence following a significant national campaign across all TPS branches arguing why members should reject the HoA and the necessity of taking further industrial action in order to defend their pensions. Therefore, branch officers should expect to receive appropriate campaign material shortly.
As part of that campaign we will argue that the HoA did not indicate a ‘significant change’ to the earlier ‘final offer’, and as such is totally unacceptable to us given that our members are still expected to work longer, pay more, and get less.
When, as we believe they will, members indicate they agree with our position, we will be in a position to submit notice to our employers – on the basis of our existing, and live, industrial action ballot, that we intend to strike on March 28th alongside the NUT, and PCS, and possibly other unions, such as sections of Unite, the FBU, and others.