- What is a ballot?
A ballot is a way for UNISON members to have their say, or ‘vote’ for a specific type of action.
- What is an indicative ballot for industrial action?
Trade unions sometimes hold ‘consultative’ or ‘ indicative’ ballots asking members whether they might be prepared to take industrial action about a particular issue. Trade unions are free to hold these ballots in-line with their rules. However, UNISON will need to hold a further legal postal ballot if they wish to proceed with any industrial action.
- Why is Goldsmiths UNISON running an indicative ballot for industrial action?
UNISON feels that compulsory redundancies should be taken off the table because the financial situation of Goldsmiths is better than expected. Management have said no to this and so we are now considering if members want to strike over this issue. UNISON has been holding weekly online meetings with members every Wednesday and it is the view of members attending these meetings that Goldsmiths UNISON should consult members on starting further action in response to the PSB restructure. UNISON Goldsmiths is recommending that members indicate willingness to strike by voting ‘YES’ in the indicative ballot.
- How will the indicative vote go ahead?
An email will be sent to all eligible UNISON members containing the link to vote. The ballot will be completed electronically.
- I find it difficult to use my phone, or I don’t have access to UNISON emails, or I can’t attend online meetings, what help is there for me?
If you or a colleague finds it difficult to access emails or to attend online meetings, then please contact the branch by telephone on: 07960 127 076 to let us know and we can arrange to hold a face-to-face meeting with those members of staff with a view to holding an indicative ballot by way of a show of hands at the meeting.
- Does this mean UNISON members are going out on strike?
This will depend on the results of the indicative ballot, but we would encourage all UNISON’s members who are eligible to vote to have their say.
- I am not directly affected by the PSB restructure, can I vote in the indicative ballot?
Yes, because even if you are not directly affected if the compulsory redundancies continue the extra workload will be passed onto existing members of staff.
- Will talks with management stop if I vote in favour of being balloted for industrial action?
No, we will continue to meet with management to avoid compulsory redundancies.
- If UNISON members vote to go on strike will my pay be affected?
An employer is entitled to withhold payment for each day of strike action from those deemed to be on strike.
- I’m a low paid worker, I can’t afford to go out on strike, what support is there for people like me?
The branch can set up an Industrial Action hardship fund and anyone suffering from financial hardship as a result of going out on strike and members are able to apply for a grant to help them.
- What about strike pay?
The standard level of strike pay is currently £25 per day and it will apply in most disputes. Where a strike is of less than four days duration, no payment of standard strike pay will be made. Once a fourth day of action has been undertaken strike pay becomes payable from the first day. To qualify for payment, a member must have participated in all four days of action. The only exception to this relates to part-time workers who, due to their pattern of work, have participated in less than four days’ action. In their case, payment will become due once the dispute has entered its fourth day. The days of action need not be consecutive. The Inland Revenue does not regard strike payments as taxable earnings. Strike pay is administered and paid by UNISON’s finance department directly to the member’s bank account.
- The indicative ballot results have come back in favour of balloting members for industrial action, what happens next?
The branch will make an application to the UNISON Industrial Action Committee to proceed to a legal ballot for members to vote for industrial action. Once authorisation has been given; the region, in consultation with the branch, will need to fulfil the remaining legal requirements and in particular give the employer 14 days notice of the start of industrial action.
- Where can I find more information from UNISON?
A weekly meeting is held online on Microsoft teams on Wednesday at 12pm, and all members are encouraged to join in. You can also use the contact details on our website ( https://unisongoldsmiths.org.uk/branch-officers ) to speak to a local rep or make contact with the branch. Look out for information sent out by email and you can keep up to date on twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/unisongold
- What can I do to help?
Ensuring the accuracy of membership records is of paramount importance as the process for a ballot for strike action is bound by legislation and the ballot must be conducted in paper form, with papers being sent by post to members home addresses. Please use the link to log onto My Unison to ensure you records are updated and contact details correct: https://my.unison.org.uk/
You can also talk to your colleagues to ensure they are aware of what is going on and what UNISON is doing.