The Referendum

The Referendum (November) 2019

Q1. Should RUSU support UCU strike action over pension dispute?

QUESTION 1 specifically asks for your opinion on whether RUSU should support STRIKE ACTION relating to the PENSIONS DISPUTE.

You should respond ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the question depending on whether you are in support of the strike action or not.  You can choose to abstain if you wish to refrain from casting your vote.  The outcome to this referendum will determine RUSU’s position in relation to the UCU strike action relating to the pensions dispute.

Click on the Motion text to learn more about what voting NO or YES to this question will mean.

Q2. Should RUSU support UCU action short of a strike over pension dispute?

QUESTION 2 specifically asks for your opinion on whether RUSU should support ACTION SHORT OF A STRIKE relating to the PENSIONS DISPUTE.

You should respond ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the question depending on whether you are in support of the action short of a strike or not.  You can choose to abstain if you wish to refrain from casting your vote.  The outcome to this referendum will determine RUSU’s position in relation to the UCU action short of a strike relating to the pensions dispute.

Click on the Motion text to learn more about what voting YES or NO to this question will mean.

Q3. Should RUSU support UCU strike action over pay and working conditions dispute?

QUESTION 3 specifically asks for your opinion on whether RUSU should support STRIKE ACTION relating to the PAY AND WORKING CONDITIONS DISPUTE.

You should respond ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the question depending on whether you are in support of the strike action or not.  You can choose to abstain if you wish to refrain from casting your vote.  The outcome to this referendum will determine RUSU’s position in relation to the UCU strike action relating to the pay and working conditions dispute.

Click on the Motion text to learn more about what voting YES or NO to this question will mean.

Q4. Should RUSU support UCU action short of a strike over pay and working conditions dispute?

QUESTION 4 specifically asks for your opinion on whether RUSU should support ACTION SHORT OF A STRIKE relating to the PAY AND WORKING CONDITIONS DISPUTE.

You should respond ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the question depending on whether you are in support of the action short of a strike or not.  You can choose to abstain if you wish to refrain from casting your vote.  The outcome to this referendum will determine RUSU’s position in relation to the UCU action short of a strike relating to the pay and working conditions dispute.

Click on the Motion text to learn more about what voting NO or YES to this question will mean.

The University & College Union (UCU) has given the University of Reading formal notice that they will be encouraging their members to participate in industrial action, including both full strike action and action short of strike.

UCU strike action has been scheduled to take place for 8 days from 25th November to 4th December 2019 and UCU action short of strike is scheduled to take place from 25th November and finishing no later than 29th April 2020.

Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU) Trustee Board has called a referendum in accordance with RUSU Constitution and associated Referenda Bye-law. A referendum is a ballot in which all student members of RUSU are entitled to cast a vote to provide their opinion on an issue. This is done in the form of a question and the electorate are asked to respond either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or ‘abstain’, to the question.

VOTING FOR THIS REFERENDUM OPENS 10:00, 18th NOVEMBER AND ENDS 17:00, 22nd NOVEMBER 2019

In this referendum, RUSU invites student members, the students of Reading University, to cast their vote and determine whether RUSU should support the upcoming University and College Union (UCU) strike action and/or action short of strike.

Strike action is industrial action whereby UCU members take the decision not to work on a strike day. If they choose, UCU members can choose not to work on all of the strike days.

Action Short of a Strike may include, but is not limited to, industrial action taken by UCU members in the form of a protest, an expression of dissatisfaction, slowdown, refusal to work overtime or working to rule.

This official industrial action relates to two separate disputes; an ongoing dispute over Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pensions; and a dispute relating to pay and working conditions.

This referendum will include four separate questions;

  1. Should RUSU support UCU strike action over pension dispute?
  2. Should RUSU support UCU action short of a strike over pension dispute?
  3. Should RUSU support UCU strike action over pay and working conditions dispute?
  4. Should RUSU support UCU action short of a strike over pay and working conditions dispute?

Students will be able to respond ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Abstain’ to each question. The outcome to these questions will determine RUSU’s position in relation to the upcoming UCU strike action and UCU action short of a strike.

RUSU is not obliged to act upon a vote that has a turnout of less than 1,000 students eligible to vote. However, the vote may be taken into account when formulating policies.

To help you decide how to vote, we have written a detailed explanation of what voting for each question means and what it will result in.

VOTING FOR THIS REFERENDUM OPENS 10:00, 18th NOVEMBER AND ENDS 17:00, 22nd NOVEMBER 2019

University and College Union (UCU) held two strike ballots calling for UCU members to take strike action and action short of strike. There was a strike ballot of 69 institutions, relating to the ongoing disputes relating to Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pensions; and another strike ballot of 147 institutions over disputes relating to pay, workloads, casualisation and equality. The strike ballots ended on 30th October.

On 5th November UCU announced that their members would take strike action which is scheduled to take place for 8 days from 25th November to 4th December 2019 and action short of strike scheduled to take place from 25th November finishing no later than 20th April 2020.

UCU have posted the full results of the strike ballot.

You can find out more information from University and College Union (USU) relating to why they called for strike action relating to USS pensions at UCU Strike for USS. Visit UUK Response for the response from Universities UK (UUK) who represent 136 higher education employers (including University of Reading) in discussions relating to the USS pensions.

You can find out more information about UCU National Negotiations for information from University and College Union (USU) about why they are calling for strike action over pay and working conditions (specifically workloads, casualisation and equality). Visit UCEA Pay Negotiations for the response from Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) who represent 146 HEIs, including the University of Reading in response to current pay negotiations.

RUSU has not stated a position relating to the strike ballot or potential strike action as we are a membership organisation and recognise that our members, the students at the University of Reading, may hold differing and potentially conflicting opinions on the UCU strike action.

Now we are aware that strike action is planned, RUSU Trustee Board has called for a referendum so all student members have the opportunity to cast their vote which will determine the position RUSU will take in relation to the UCU strikes.

The following activities have already taken place in relation to the Referendum process.

Notice of Referendum

On 7th November 2019, RUSU published a Notice of Referendum with proposed questions and timeline.

Call for Agents for the 'Yes' and 'No' Campaigns

All Student Members can put themselves forward as an ‘Agent’ for the ‘Yes’ vote campaign or the ‘No’ vote campaign.

To do this, log on at the Become an Agent page using your university username and password. Submit your nomination via the Become an Agent/Campaign Survey .

You will be asked to give your name, student number, contact details and whether you wish to be considered for as an Agent / Campaigner or both and if you want to campaign for the ‘Yes’ vote campaign or the ‘No’ vote campaign.

An agent is a student who acts as a key contact between the RUSU and the relevant Campaign team.

A campaigner is a student who wishes to actively get involved in either the Yes or No campaign.

You must do this no later than 23:59, Tuesday, 12th November 2019.

Please note that the deadline is short due to the UCU strikes timeline.

Deadline for Submitting Amendments to the proposed questions

All Student Members can put forward amendments (alternative proposals) to the original proposed question(s). Please note proposed amendments must be in the spirit of the original question.

To do this, log on at Submit an Amendment page using your university username and password. Click on the ‘Submit Amendment Survey’ and submit your proposed amendment.

You will be asked to give your name, student number, contact details and details of your amendment.

You must do this no later than 23:59, Tuesday, 12th November 2019.

Please note that the deadline is short due to the UCU strikes timeline.

Appointment of Agents and amendments to Referendum questions

On 13th November, 2019, RUSU Elections Committee, a sub-committee of the RUSU Trustee Board, met to appoint Agents and consider amendments to the proposed questions.

Two Agents were appointed and the Agents Meeting was scheduled.

Amendments were considered and the decision was taken to amend the original proposed questions.

The referendum will now include the following four separate questions. Student members will be asked to vote separately on each question.

This decision also took into consideration the official industrial action (for strike action and action short of a strike) planned. Student members may support one course of industrial action but not the other. The revised questions enable student members vote separately on strike action and action short of a strike in relation to the two separate disputes. This will provide the RUSU Trustee Board with clearer guidance on the views of our student members.

The four questions to be asked in the Referendum are:

  1. Should RUSU support UCU strike action over pension dispute?
  2. Should RUSU support UCU action short of a strike over pension dispute?
  3. Should RUSU support UCU strike action over pay and working conditions dispute?
  4. Should RUSU support UCU action short of a strike over pay and working conditions dispute?

Call for Campaigners for the 'Yes' and 'No' campaigns

A campaigner is a student member who wishes to actively get involved in either the Yes or No campaign.

All Student Members can put themselves forward as a ‘Campaigner’ for the ‘Yes’ vote campaign or the ‘No’ vote campaign.

To do this, log on at Become a Campaigner using your university username and password. Fill out the Become a Campaigner survey and submit your nomination.

You will be asked to give your name, student number, contact details and whether and if you want to campaign for the ‘Yes’ vote campaign or the ‘No’ vote campaign.

You will be provided with the contact details of the Agent (Lead Campaigner) for your campaign and encouraged to get in touch with them.

You can do this at any point during the campaign. The sooner you contact your Agent, the better.

Student members invited to come to the Referendum debate

A debate on this referendum will take place on 14th November 2019 at 18:00 in Monterey Lounge.

All Student Members of RUSU are welcome to attend this debate. Individuals who are not Student Members of RUSU are unable to attend.

Please bring your student card to gain entry to the debate.

Student members to vote in the Referendum

VOTING FOR THIS REFERENDUM OPENS 10:00, 18th NOVEMBER AND ENDS 17:00, 22nd NOVEMBER 2019

All Student Members shall be eligible to vote. You will need to logon at this page and click on 'vote now'.

Voting in this referendum will take place at the same time of our termly Change It vote.

A vote will only be passed by Referendum if at least 1,000 student members cast a vote in the Referendum and a simple majority of the votes cast are in favour of the resolution.

Results will be published on Monday, 28th November 2019.

Further information relating to the referendum will be posted online.

If you have a complaint, student members must submit your complaint in person to the RUSU Chief Executive no later than 17:00 on 22nd November 2019.

If you have any questions relating to the referendum, please email elections@rusu.co.uk.

Join a Campaign Team

A campaigner is a student member who works with the Agent (Lead Campaigner) and other members of the “Yes” vote campaign or the “No” vote campaign. Find out here how to support the 'Yes' or 'No' campaigns.

Referendum Timeline

The timeline of upcoming Referendum meetings and events.

Referendum Questions

Explanations of what voting for each question in the Referendum means and what you're voting for.

The Referendum Debate

The Referendum Debate is a chance for students to hear the arguments from both the “Yes” and “No” campaigns in the referendum before voting opens.

How to vote

How to cast your vote in the Referendum.

Agent Resources

Key guidelines, rules and information for all RUSU elections including Referendum Agents.

FAQ

Important and frequently asked questions on the subject of the Referendum.