Vote Jo McNeill for General Secretary

Jo McNeill’s video


Dear Colleague,

My name is Jo McNeill. I work in Fair Access in Admissions, I’m President of the University of Liverpool UCU branch, a National Negotiator for HE, I’ve been a NEC member for four years and I’m standing against Sally Hunt in the upcoming General Secretary election.

Many of you won’t know me but if you would like me to come and speak at your branch, both Sally and I can be invited to participate in hustings. You can request this via your branch who can email me at: Sally can be invited via UCU Head Office.

Honest, open, transparent debate should be at the heart of every union and I will make every effort to participate in this during this campaign.

You can read more about me and what I stand for by reading my blog. You’ll find testimonials there from people who do know me and who support my candidacy:

The General Secretary election only takes place once every five years and Sally has been GS of UCU since its inception ten years ago. Regardless of who you vote for, please do vote. During the last General Secretary election only 12% of our members voted. UCU is your union, your vote really matters.

Here are a few questions I’d like you to consider:

  • Are you happy with UCU right now?
  • Do you feel connected with the current leadership?
  • Will you be content with another five years of the same?

If you answered NO to any of the above, then it’s time for a change.

My Vision:

UCU will be a democratic union run by members for members. Together we will reignite confidence in our collective strength to defend our members’ jobs, employment conditions and our education system.

Successes and Failures:

UCU members have driven some very successful campaigns in the last ten years, unfortunately we’ve also suffered some major losses. UCU began with a big win for HE, those pay increases in 2006 came from a successful industrial action strategy, something we haven’t seen on a national level since. The key to that strategy was the 52% ballot turnout. How did we manage to get such a high turnout? A high profile national campaign led up to the release of the ballot.

Successful strategies are not rocket science. They take hard work and strong leadership. Think back to recent ballots over our pensions and our pay, do you recall a high profile national campaign prior to the ballot landing on your doormat? No. There wasn’t one.

The first indication I’ve seen of an attempt to raise UCU’s profile has been in the run up to this GS election campaign. Our issues are making the national press on an almost daily basis. This shows the potential impact we can have when the leadership want to take a campaign seriously.

We need to rethink our industrial action strategies. As General Secretary I will not allow members to be led into fights without a clear understanding of how we can win.

Our Current Situation:

As members we know our employers and the issues we face day in and day out.

  • In all sectors we see our ever expanding workloads taking over our lives, causing untold stress.
  • We experience bullying at work, discrimination, increasing managerialism and job insecurity.
  • Our Prison Educators are working in poor conditions with severe health and safety concerns.
  • Our FE colleagues suffer repeated attacks on jobs and working conditions.
  • In HE casualisation is increasing and the HE Bill is imminent, we must oppose TEF.
  • Many of our colleagues are EU/EEA citizens who are rightly terrified of what will happen post-Brexit. I fully support free movement of labour.

Our education system is worth defending. In recent years UCU hasn’t been able to do that. Describing issues in the press is a necessary part of raising their profile, but alone, isn’t enough. We need to follow press coverage up with demonstrations of our collective strength.

If you don’t feel part of a union that has a collective strength right now, then that’s the first problem we have to fix.

If you agree with me and believe UCU is ready for a change, ask your local branch to endorse me and you can share my blog posts and campaign materials with colleagues and professional networks.

Make your vote count!

I’d be happy to answer any questions you have and you can contact me direct:



Twitter: @jomcneillUCU

Best wishes.


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