Referendum FAQ

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

Union members who take part in legal, official industrial action cannot be dismissed as a result of taking action. Non-union members who take part in legal, official industrial action have the same rights as union members not to be dismissed as a result of taking action.

An employer can take the decision not to pay employees for any time they have participated in strike action.

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

On 5th November University and College Union (UCU) gave 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 to invite student members, the students of Reading University, to cast their vote and determine whether RUSU should support the University and College Union (UCU) strike action and action short of strike. This action relates to two separate disputes; an ongoing dispute over Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pensions; and a dispute relating to pay and working conditions.

A referendum is a ballot in which all Student Members of the Union are entitled to cast a vote. In a referendum students vote on ‘motions’ which usually come in the form of questions, e.g. “Should RUSU change its logo?”. A referendum can contain multiple motions to be voted on.

In this referendum, students will be asked 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.

Quorum is the minimum number of votes that have to be cast in order for the referendum to be valid. In this referendum the quorum is 1000 votes.

All student members of the Union are eligible to vote in this referendum. If you think you should be able to vote in the referendum but are unable to do so please contact elections@rusu.co.uk in the first instance.

Please see our how to vote guide for information on voting in the referendum.

When an issue being decided by a referendum is contested then two agents will be selected. Each agent will be responsible for running either the “Yes” vote campaign or the “No” vote campaign. The agent is essentially the lead campaigner of the “Yes” or “No” campaign.

A campaigner is a student who will work with the agent of the “Yes” or “No” campaign to persuade other students to vote one way or the other in the referendum.

You can get involved in either campaign by putting yourself forward as an Agent or a campaigner.

The deadline to put yourself forward as an Agent closed on 23:59 on Tuesday 12th November 2019.

You can still get involved as a campaigner. To put yourself forward, complete the online Become a Campaigner survey. We will then give you the contact details for your Agent and encourage you to get in touch with them.

You can also get involved by coming along to the Referendum Debate at 18:00, Thursday 14th November in Monterey Lounge, Students’ Union. You will need to bring your student card to gain entry.

Finally, don’t forget to vote in the Referendum!

Any student member can submit an amendment to the proposal using the Amendments Submission Survey.

You will be asked to give your name, student number, contact details and details of your amendment. Keep in mind that amendments must be directly related to the original proposal.

The final decision as to whether to accept any amendments lies with the RUSU Trustee Board.

The deadline for submitting amendments will close on 23:59 on Tuesday 12th November 2019.

Any student can submit an amendment. Keep in mind that amendments must be directly related to the original proposal. The final decision as to whether to accept any amendments lies with the students who called the referendum.

We hope that you will be completely satisfied with our referendum process. Should you have a complaint, we want to work with you to resolve the issues as quickly as possible so please get in touch immediately.

All complaints should be given in person to the Chief Executive no later than 17:00, Friday 22nd November 2019. Visit RUSU Reception to give your complaint in person.