Movement – keeping momentum going in HE strike ballot

As the higher education autumn term strike ballot enters its final few weeks, UNISON has been using a new way of encouraging voting

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UNISON is balloting members for strike action in targeted universities in England over the 2023/24 pay offer. The offer is worth between 5-8% depending on spinal column point.

This year UNISON has been using a new system, Movement, to increase engagement and turnout in ballots. It allows regions, branches and activists to use phone banking, peer to peer texting and to log feedback from members by email and from in-person conversations.

From these interactions, Movement records whether a member has voted, but not which way they have voted. For example, in the HE autumn term strike ballot Movement has logged that over 1,730 members have told the union they have voted so far.

However, there is still time to increase this number. Eligible members have been sent their ballot paper in a bright green envelope to their home address. They have until 10am on 31 July to return their ballot paper by post. But it is important to send ballots back soon, to ensure they arrive in good time.

UNISON’s head of higher education Ruth Smith said: “We are now entering the critical final phase of this ballot.

“The institutions being balloted were carefully selected by the HE service group executive as the figures indicate they have a good chance of meeting the 50% turnout threshold required for strike action.

“But to meet those thresholds, now is the time for that final push to get over the line. It is vital that, by demonstrating our strength in all 28 institutions, we show the employer that UNISON is a force to be reckoned with in higher education. That is how we win a better deal for our members.”

For further information about this ballot and to check which universities are included, please visit

Visit the organising space to access online resources to support our activists and organising communities.

If you haven’t received your ballot paper, contact the helpline on: 0800 0 857 857 (the helpline closes at 12 noon, 25 July).