Why is it so important to vote in the Four Fights and USS pensions ballots? Members of the Exeter UCU branch Committee give their thoughts as we enter the last 24/36/48 hours of voting (depending on how reliable you think Royal Mail is!)

Remember: the last safe day to vote is Wednesday 6th April. Post on Thursday 7th in an emergency. Ballot closes on Friday 8th April.

Need further info? Visit our Vote 2022 webpage.

“I’m voting Yes to strike action and Yes to ASOS not because I relish the idea of industrial action but for several reasons.  Firstly, the issues around workload, gender and ethnic inequalities; pay, pay gaps and contracts, and pensions seem to be getting worse year after year and even where improvements are being made, the sector needs to go further and faster.  Secondly, and relatedly, I want to deliver the best possible teaching and experience for students, and I want the time that it takes academics to deliver world class teaching, preparation, marking and academic tutorial support to be appreciated and recognised fairly.  Thirdly, having (relatively) recently finished my PhD and got a job as a Lecturer, I feel a duty to support early career colleagues throughout the sector, who may be in less permanent and secure positions than myself.  While I am personally voting Yes, I appreciate it is a difficult decision and would encourage everyone to vote, no matter which way you decide to vote in the end.”

“Education opens doors and lifts barriers for those with academic talents irrespective of social privilege. Universities and academia should be a beacon for equality and diversity, not stopping at widening participation of students, but aspiring to apply these principles to the staff who research and pass on the knowledge. Yet, cronyism and gender-based discrimination continue to be underlying problems that fuel the issues of workload, gender-pay gaps and casualisation. The pay and pension cuts affect women more. These inequalities become our lives, affect our sense of worth and our mental health. It is critical that we respond collectively and vote.”

“I have been employed at Exeter for over 20 years, with over half my time on casualised contracts. Thanks to UCU, things have improved, but casualisaton is still a big problem in Exeter, which UCU works to reverse. Due to workload I am absolutely exhausted after this term, and it is hard to see how the restructuring is going to have any other effect than increasing workload…it is not acceptable. So I am supporting my union by voting for strike action! Collective action is the best way to work toward progressive improvements for all employees.”

“I’d encourage a Yes/Yes vote in the UCU ballots: staff have year on year put in vast amounts of effort to keep the system running, capped by the tremendously difficult year of developing and running online teaching due to covid. Yet year on year salaries do not keep up with inflation, and the value of pensions is set for yet another dramatic decline, particularly for newer entrants to the profession (and despite record amounts of money being put in), plus problems of casualisation, workloads, and pay gaps.”

“I’m voting YES because I feel I cannot let the relentless attacks on our pay, pensions and working conditions go on. So much of our beautiful profession has been degraded over the years. It has to stop and it can only be stopped through collective action.”

“I am voting for strike action because in my years in HE, I have seen a steady erosion of pay and pensions, and systemic failures to address casualisation, workloads and pay gaps.  This sector relies so much on goodwill and collegiality, but this has not been reciprocated by university leaders and is being exploited.”

“Our employers refuse to accept our reasoned arguments, and accepting their terms would result in more real terms pay cuts, cuts to our deferred pay (or pensions), declining conditions for new entrants, and increased workloads for everyone. Strike action is our last, but often most effective resort. Please vote yes for strike action and ASOS in the current ballot.”

“I am voting because these disputes matter – to me and to every single member of staff in the UK Higher Education system. They matter right now, and they will matter more and more in the years and decades ahead. UCU is fighting in these disputes for fair and equitable treatment of all staff, and especially for early career and precariously-employed colleagues who need the support of all members to finally get a better deal from HE employers.”


Contributors (not in order of messages above): Barrie Cooper (Pensions Officer); Abi Dymond (H&S Workload Rep); Alex Fairfax-Cholmeley (Communications Officer); Claire Foullon (CEMPS Rep); Andrew Gilbert (Treasurer); Charles Masquelier (CSSIS Rep and shadow Equality and Diversity Officer); Alex Prichard (Casework Coordinator); Ginny Russell (Anti-Casualisation Officer)


And every single one of us says:

“Please make sure you VOTE!”

Need further info? Visit our Vote 2022 webpage.