You and UCU

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General Secretary Election Address – December 2006

This is my election address.

 Biographical information 

Service to TU movement: 

1968–1971     Amalgamated Engineering & Foundry Workers’ Union – Shop Steward, District Committee

1971-1981             Transport & General Workers’ Union – Shop Steward, District Committee, Trades Union Council (Chair)

1979-1981             National Union of Dyers, Bleachers & Textile Workers – Shop Steward, Branch Committee

1981-1986             National Union of Students

1986-Date     NATFHE/UCU

Burnley College – Branch Chair (2 years), Branch Secretary (15 years), Regional Delegate (12 years),

North West Region – Vice Chair (1 year), Chair (3 years), Secretary (4 years), Black Members’ Rep Equality Advisory Committee

National Executive Committee Member, (8 years) – Vice-Chair(Legal) Finance, Membership & Organisation Committee (2 years)National Negotiator (England) (3years) Annual FE Sector Conference – Delegate (10 years), Vice Chair (1 year) 

Deeside College – Part-time Members’ Rep (2 years)Wales Region – Black Members’ Rep Equality Advisory Committee 

Trades Union Congress Delegate (3 years)

TUC NW Delegate (1 year), Black Members’ Network

TUC Wales Delegate (1 year)          

Employment Tribunal Member

Member CIPD 

As the ONLY candidate with any experience of working in Adult, Further and Higher Education, my teaching experience is varied. 

Currently, I am a TUC Tutor in Employment Law, Deeside College and prior to that, I was the Co-ordinator of Management Studies at Burnley College. 

I have taught students with learning difficulties, levels 1, 2 and 3 FE students, HNC/D in Business, Care, Engineering and Tourism, Education at graduate and post graduate level, and, management studies at graduate and post graduate level.  

I am the ONLY candidate who has worked in: 

Ø       Adult and Continuing Education.

Ø       Further Education.

Ø       Higher Education 

My priority as General Secretary, will be to ensure that the union is responsive to YOU, working to ensure that the wishes of the rank and file members, yourselves, are listened to and acted upon.  I believe that it is YOUR views that are most important, and that the decisions made by your representatives do actually represent what you want. 

For many years, now, Further and Adult Education has been is disarray.

NATFHE failed to come to grips with the ravages of incorporation, and the results are there for all to see.  We NEED strong branches and regions where your representatives will reflect your views.

The struggle in Wales, which has been no less difficult than that in England, has shown that, with a strong effective leadership, members gain in confidence, demoralisation diminishes and the college bosses know that the fight will be a real one. 

We need to take those lessons and transfer them to England and Northern Ireland, giving members confidence, strength, motivation, which re-energises and galvanises members.

Adult, prison, landbased education?  Sectors where members feel isolated and forgotten. 

As General Secretary of UCU, I will not forget them.  

The terms and conditions of those members is equally as important as the rest of UCU.   Their issues, problems and struggles will be given high priority.   Because the way we treat the more disparate sections of our union will show how we treat ALL members.

As General Secretary, I’ll fight for national pay rates and terms and conditions.

The UCU is emerging from a Higher Education pay dispute which demoralised members and threatened to destroy unity. 

In seeking a three-year deal, both Sally Hunt and Roger Kline failed to learn the lessons of FE.  Both Sally and Roger were responsible for the ultimate ‘agreement’They were the people who led and directed the dispute.   They are the people who failed to learn the lessons from FE.   

We need to negotiate deals which are transparent and enforceable.  We need tactical awareness.   We should not take action which pushes us into tight corners. We need strategies which do not alienate the public who perceive young people as victims whose future is being threatened, and which do not hang our members out to dry.  

If you elect me General Secretary, I will ensure that the actions of the negotiators really does reflect the desires of the members.

I believe that the equality agenda is a key feature of any trade union. 

For us, so that we fight the prejudice and discrimination shown by management in the way they treat us.  For society, so that we can all live and work in a community where everything but intolerance is tolerated. 

We need equality structures that allow the Union to help all its members, because the equality agenda is not just about race, nor is it just about gender, or disability, or LGBT issues, or the plight of part-time workers – it is about all of these, and more. 

It is about educators working in an environment which breeds tolerance – and that starts with how the UCU treats its own members. Out there, there is much anger amongst our black members, amongst our disabled members  – amongst many members – anger based on the way our predecessor unions treated them.  That has to change. 

As General Secretary, I will ensure that the equality agenda is given top priority.

I am not a member of any political party.  I did not seek, nor did I receive the support of any party.

I will promise you this. 

As General Secretary, I will strive to ensure that subscriptions do not go to any political party. Your political fund will be spent on political campaigning which furthers the cause of all UCU members. 

However, there is a need to engage in the political process, to talk and negotiate with governments in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales – and that will be continued and strengthened. 

Because I do not have any political affiliations, I will not yield to the pressure of any party. 

As General Secretary, I will do what’s best for the rank and file members, you. 

There is an international agenda which directly impinges upon us as educators. 

The war in Iraq is being paid for in the classrooms, lecture theatres and laboratories of the colleges and universities. Every penny spent on the war in Iraq, is a penny off the money being spent on education. 

Colleges cut ESOL classes, universities close science departments, adult education is decimated – it’s a straightforward calculation:                                  

                                  £billions on the war = cuts in education. 

As General Secretary I will continue to campaign to end this immorality. 

Uniquely, I actually have worked in the education sector, in Adult, Higher and Further Education. 

I know what it’s like to be a part-time lecturer and a full-time lecturer. 

I know what it’s like to be faced with a mountain of paperwork that is designed to make the managers look good, but has the effect of grinding you down. 

Not for me, the comfort of leading strike action from the office, secure in the knowledge that I won’t get the sack. 

No.  For me, industrial action is about making sacrifices, showing solidarity, agitating and organising.

I know what it’s like to be on a picket line, I know what it’s like to lose pay, I know what it’s like to be sacked for being a trade union activists. 

Unlike the other candidates, I’ve experienced all of those things, and more. 

So I make you this promise. 

Whenever the UCU is involved in national strike action, in either sector, I will donate a day’s salary for each day that the strike lasts. 

As General Secretary, I will work for you.  I will work for a union which is membership-led and equality-based.

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December 18, 2006 - Posted by | Election Statement

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