UCU NEC elections:
Vote Mark Abel for HE South
For a union that fights to win
I am Senior Lecturer in history and politics in the School of Humanities at the University of Brighton. My research is in the aesthetics and politics of music.
Since 2014 I have been Chair of the UCU Coordinating Committee at Brighton, a branch which has always exceeded ballot thresholds and where I have led a series of disputes in defence of local agreements and against redundancies. We won local gains over casualisation, workloads and equalities in our marking boycott last year, and I have led a successful campaign to achieve union recognition for professors.
I am a current NEC member and have previously been Vice Chair of the Higher Education Committee.
As a member of UCU Left, I believe in a union which mobilises its members to fight in defence of their own pay and conditions, their academic freedom and professional integrity, and in defence of a free, public higher education system.
To achieve this we need a union with the highest standards of democracy. Members must control the strategy of the union. NEC must implement the decisions of Congress and the General Secretary must respect the decisions of the elected bodies responsible for running disputes.
The attacks we face on our pay, pensions and working conditions continue to intensify. Together with the threat of punitive pay-docking to our right to take industrial action, they represent an existential threat to our union. We must rise to the challenge. In our current HE disputes, I have argued that only hard-hitting industrial action can beat back our employers
I have been centrally involved in building links and solidarity with other groups of workers taking action. We are stronger if we coordinate our action with other trade unions as part of a wider movement of resistance.
There is no separation between the problems facing our members as education workers and political issues. The Tories whip up racism over migration to divide us and try to thwart efforts to decolonise the curriculum. We must work with organisations like Stand Up To Racism to challenge racism on- and off-campus. I am committed to UCU’s agenda of opposing both sexism and transphobia, and to closing the pay gaps.
I believe that climate change is a trade union issue. I have been involved in organising UCU solidarity with youth climate protests and pressing our employers to improve their carbon reduction strategies.
If re-elected to NEC, I will continue to seek to strengthen our union by supporting initiatives which empower our members to take action against all the threats we face.
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