I joined NATFHE as soon as I started working in FE sector in 1987. I held several positions on the branch committee, including chair and treasurer. I became a delegate to NATFHE’s Southern Regional Council in 1989, and was chair of the region in 1995-96.
I became a member of the NEC in 2001, representing FE members in Southern Region for one year before becoming the nationally elected representative for LGBT members.
I continued in this seat through the merger until I became vice-president in 2008. I retired from my job at Oxford and Cherwell Valley College on completing my term as president in May 2011, but I retain my membership at that branch.
It was an enormous privilege to be the president of our union last year as we began to face the greatest attack on post-16 education that we have ever experienced.
During the course of the year I was able to visit a large number of branches and listen to members’ views and concerns.
I also stood on picket lines alongside colleagues involved in both national and local disputes
I think this has given me an overview of our union and its members which makes me ideally placed to continue working for UCU as one of its trustees.
I am standing as a member of UCU Left and am proud to do so. However, I believe that during my time as an officer I have been able to work with all members, whatever their position on the political spectrum. I also developed good working relations with our staff.
I am particularly pleased to have played a role in the negotiations which resulted in the acquisition of an office in Leeds, which will lea to an improved level of service for members in Yorkshire and Humberside.
I have also gained a knowledge and understanding of the financial and legal workings of the union, which are the chief concerns of a trustee.
I also appreciate the constraints under which we operate, both those imposed by the appallingly restrictive laws governing trade union activity in this country and those that are specific to us, chiefly the sale of the Britannia Street building and the incorporation of the NATFHE Pension Scheme into USS.
If elected, I will do my best to ensure that both these matters are resolved as soon as possible, and that in all its undertakings our union works in the best interests of its members.
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