Since Natfhe and the AUT merged five years ago to form the University and College Union, UCU Left has worked hard to build stronger branch and regional organisation in order to promote the defence of post-16 education and to fight off cuts and rising workloads and pressure at colleges and universities.
Over the past year or two we have been in the forefront of campaigning to strengthen the union’s opposition to the attacks on our members’ pensions in the TPS and USS schemes. and to campaign against the public sector pay freeze.
It was UCU Left who led the rejection of the Institute for Learning (IfL) subscription deal in Further Education. We were subsequently supported by 90% of FE membes in a ballot. Our supporters have led local campaigns against victimisations, redundancies, observations and cuts, many of them successful. We were central to launching the ballots against the pensions attacks when the union officials thought this was premature.
We supported the student protests in 2010/11 over tuition fee rises and promoted the campaigns for the restoration of the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and in defence of ESOL. Our supporters drafted the widely circulated UCU Manifesto for FE a few years ago, and more recently the response to the riots during last summer.
We have strenuously defended the principle of a member-led, democratic, campaigning union against those who think the union should be a service-based union dominated by paid officials. UCU Left has consistently campaigned for and defended the notion of effective lay democracy in the union and has fought to commit the union’s leadership to actively support the growing opposition to public sector cuts and austerity.
But campaigning costs money and, as the government attacks on education increase, so do the costs of organising an effective opposition to these attacks within the union. Producing a new website, standing a rank and file candidate in the general secretary election, as well as a range of other candidates for the NEC, has entailed significant expenditure. This means we now need urgently to raise an additional £2,000.
A campaign fund appeal was launched at our recent conference where we raised £320. Please could you use the button below to make a donation – anything between £10 and £100 – although we won’t object to more!