UNISON members at Edinburgh Napier University have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action, and the University has agreed to halt compulsory redundancies in favour of a voluntary scheme.
UNISON’s ballot for industrial action returned a resounding 84% ‘yes’ vote on a 68% turnout.
The ballot was called in response to planned compulsory redundancies at the University, announced before alternative measures had been exhausted and before a credible financial case had been made.
The pressure of the ballot and potential strike action in freshers’ week and the first week of teaching has led to agreement on a voluntary severance scheme and a halt to planned compulsory redundancies.
If compulsory redundancies resurface in the coming months, UNISON members will be able to use their industrial action mandate to defend jobs. There are currently no planned days of industrial action, but this will be kept under close review by UNISON.
Lorcan Mullen, UNISON Scotland regional head of higher education said: “Given the fact that so many UNISON members were either working from home, furloughed or on annual leave during the ballot period, it is remarkable that the branch has comprehensively beaten the ballot thresholds mandated by anti-trade union legislation.
This is testament to the strength of feeling among Napier members and their collective determination to protect jobs. The branch committee have worked incredibly hard to achieve this result, and I am delighted they have received such backing from their members despite the limits and challenges of balloting during lockdown.
The rest of the Scottish sector should be clear that UNISON will fight to defend members’ jobs, and that compulsory redundancies will only happen at the far end of a painful industrial dispute. Members and activists elsewhere should also take heart that cuts can be challenged effectively on a collective basis, even in these strange new times.”
UNISON is the public services trade union and the biggest trade union in Scotland. They represent professional and support services staff working in higher education.
Lorcan Mullen, regional head of higher education in Scotland: 07903 853116
Danny Phillips, communications officer: 07944 664110