UCU NEC elections:
Vote Graeme Elliott for FE South
Fighting for FE, because FE deserves better!
As a member of FE staff, the lack of real terms investment in staff pay, coupled with the pandemic, has led to a situation where we must choose between being underpaid and undervalued, leaving the profession or fighting back by organising and banding together.
Improvement of working conditions is one of the most important battlegrounds facing workers now. With the cost-of-living soaring it is more vital than ever that unions stand together to protect and actively improve conditions for all workers. With further austerity on the way, it is vital that we expand the union and fight for fair employment contracts, with the actual workload factored into the pay, stopping the trend of expecting staff to work beyond their contracted hours or duties.
FE cannot afford to lose the dedicated and knowledgeable staff that we have built up. As staff leave the profession, difficulties in recruitment have become a serious issue. College leaders need to be reminded that many issues can be put down to working hours and pay, and this is a choice that can be fixed.
Recent activity in both University and FE has shown the power we have as a collective, and the co-ordinated action occurring shows that union movements are rising in both popularity and success. We have shown that we can co-ordinate effectively with other unions and movements and that collective action is our way forward.
As a NEC member my priorities would be:
Win localised workload agreements and look to standardise workloads across regions, allowing more flexibility for staff.
Ensure that the gap between FE and CE teaching closes, and that FE is recognised as equivalent work.
Strengthen the Union
Following national strikes, now is an excellent time to expand the union with new members, building on the success of #ucurising
Push for equality between FE and CE Teaching
Many outside the profession do not recognise the important work we do, and many education cuts have been hidden by being deflected onto FE. This needs to stop.
I trained as a secondary school teacher, and started working in my current FE role in 2012. I work as a Biology lecturer teaching a mix of L3 courses with students from diverse backgrounds.
I’ve been a union member since I qualified as a teacher and switched to the UCU when I saw that they were actively trying to improve conditions. The recent strikes were the first that I have taken part in, and I have now taken up a role as a Learning rep. Whilst new to the union, I believe firmly in the power of our collective role in making FE a rewarding place to work.