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UCU NEC elections:
Vote Maria Chondrogianni for UK-elected HE
Defend and win:
collective action to stay safe
I have the privilege and honour of being the sitting post-92 UK elected NEC member. I ensure that post-92 concerns are heard and appropriate actions are taken. Motions I submitted included the defence of post-92 contract maxima, the need for TPS-related information and member support and in defence of the BLM movement.
It is important for our Union to support equally all of its members, whether academic, academic-related, or on precarious contracts. My contribution nationally is built on what I have achieved locally: as branch chair at a post-92 institution, I have championed the post-92 academic contract, for example defending and protecting it in successful ACAS negotiations. I have been instrumental in ensuring that no compulsory redundancies have taken place under challenging circumstances. An EU immigrant, I have been a union activist throughout my university education and career because I believe strongly that by working together we can defend education and protect our rights.
We face a critical time in protecting education, jobs, and our terms and conditions. As academic and academic related staff, we responded superbly to the pandemic, showing our loyalty, good will and creativity in adverse circumstances. By contrast, we were asked to teach on-site in unsafe environments, we are experiencing excessive workloads, carers and parents among us face an impossible situation which cannot be resolved by extending the key worker definition. The pandemic allowed inequalities to be intensified and offered the ideal excuse for employers to freeze pay yet again, attempt redundancies or introduce worse terms and conditions. This enhanced our determination to defend jobs, attack inequality, reduce workloads, abolish precarious contracts, strengthen negotiating positions, defend and win, as the many successful ballots for action and consultative ballots show. Collective action can be the only response to the current crisis.
The UCU strategy nationally should involve a better coordination between the centre and the members: agile, regular and timely interaction, as part of a national campaign, so that local UCU activists and members are supported. The looming crisis, in post-92 institutions in particular, needs to be addressed. The UCU Solidarity movement showed the importance of bringing activists together. Branches need to be empowered to protect our members physical and mental health, defend our members’ jobs and employment conditions, to defend the right of ownership of intellectual property, defend academic freedom, ensure that fair working conditions apply to all, first and foremost for casualised staff.
I am a hard-working branch chair and a defender of academic and academic-related staff. Vote for me for a union that campaigns for you and defends your job and your employment conditions. I will be honoured to get your vote.