You and UCU

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Equality and UCU

A number of members have asked me about my ‘vision’ for the UCU.  My real answer is that whatever we think about the emerging culture of the UCU, the equality agenda has to be in the forefront of our organisation.

If we cannot get the equality systems and structures within the Union right, how can we hope to represent our members in their struggle against employers.

It is right that the UCU has reserved seats for LGBT, Black, Disabled, Women and Part-time Members.  Members who identify with any of these sections might already be feeling marginalised by society and by employers – we must not allow those members to be marginalised by the Union’s structures.

And there are other sections of the Union, too, that we need to pay greater attention to – part-time members, those members who work in prison education, adult education, specialist colleges and in land-based education.

If we look at the Transitional Arrangements Committee (TAC), we can see that the only person who is there with an equality remit seems to be the ex-NATFHE Chair of Equality.

Taking equality seriously, would have meant electing representatives of all those members in the differing equality strands – but no!

No black member there of right!

No part-timer there of right!

No adult educator there of right!

And the same goes for LGBT, Disabled, Women, Prisons, Land-based …

We MUST get our equality structure right – ands it must be done NOW.

TAC has agreed, (as if it could do anything other), to form an Equality Committee of 22 members, 11 of whom will be ex-NATFHE and 11 of whom will be ex-AUT.  This is a start – but let it not be the end.

Given the characters of the members involved, I have every trust and confidence that what will evolve will place the concerns of members at the core of UCU’s activities.

If you elect me General Secretary, I will ensure that equality remains at the heart of the Union.  Because equality is both a moral and employment relations issue, it will be given a status which equals that of the further and higher education departments.  As General Secretary, I would commit myself to being the manager of the Equality Department – trusting in the commitment, expertise and knowledge of those who work in Equality to continue the great work that they have done in the past , and continue to do now.

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August 1, 2006 Posted by | Equality | Leave a comment