The lecturers union UCU may go on strike following a collapse in pay negotiations.

The University and College Union (UCU) is balloting its members after talks with the employers association fell apart. Most full-time academics at the University of Lincoln are represented by the union.

Sally Hunt, the UCU’s general secretary, sent an email to members on Monday explaining the move. She said that she hoped members would “give [her] a strong negotiating mandate by voting yes to industrial action.”

“But, I am acutely conscious of the NUS concerns about the impact of any action by UCU this term on students sitting exams.”

Dr Carol Rea, the UCU’s branch chair at Lincoln, says “most of the exams will be finished” at the university by the time the results of the ballot are known.

She says that “it’s impossible to say if it will have any effect”, but “realistically Lincoln will be finished”, and there was little point doing it over the summer.

Wes Streeting, the president of the NUS, says students needed a strike “like a hole in the head.” He says it’s “vital that all parties get around the table to end the threat” of a strike.

The UCU called the ballot after a “derisory” pay offer from the University and College Employers Association (UCEA). The union had called for an 8% pay rise, but was offered just 0.3% from the association.

The UCEA says its offer was “realistic and responsible” after looking at “what is affordable”. But Ms Hunt says it “was a derisory pay offer”.

“There is nothing to prevent UCEA negotiating a national agreement to prevent job losses.”

In her email to members, Ms Hunt said: “This dispute is about protecting your job security and your pay.” She said that the UCU and other unions had “rightly rejected” the pay offer, as well as “attempts by the employers… to ‘trade’ pay for jobs.”

However, the UCEA says the talks have “no jurisdiction to negotiate or regulate jobs”.

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By Rob Wells

Rob is a third-year journalism student at the University of Lincoln, and is originally from Leicester. He also writes on his website.