UCU NEC elections:
Vote Richard Wild for UK HE
Organising to defend our rights
I am Principal Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Greenwich with over 30 years experience across both pre- and post-92 universities. I am Branch Co-Chair at the University of Greenwich UCU and training officer for UCU London Region. A long-time member of UCU but it was the experience acting as Department Rep before, and running a picket line during, the last dispute that fired me up to step up and actively work for the union. It is my intention to do as much as I can to strengthen our union and build democracy in what is undoubtedly a very challenging time. Locally we fought hard to protect our members with the pivot to online delivery making our employers provide a safe working environment.
I have always volunteered alongside my teaching and research most recently working with The International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC) but previously for over ten years with the Fédération Internationale des ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), an international human rights organisation, against the death penalty worldwide and terrorism. This activism, I believe, coupled with my research interests around critical pedagogy, social justice and the impact of neoliberalism in the criminal justice system complement my approach to union activism in universities.
I believe that UCU is only as strong as its members. We need to get organised to face the challenges together; fighting for a real-terms pay rise, for equality, against casualisation and against ever increasing workloads that dehumanise us, put colleagues under intolerable pressure, imperil our physical and mental health, and degrade university education for all.
I am a member of UCU Left, and support their principles for a strong member-led union of volunteer activists defending our collective rights and the values of a free public higher education system rather than a marketised, exploitative system driven by a competitive, financialised culture. I ask you to elect me to your NEC so that I can speak for you in defence of your terms and conditions, our academic freedom and our professional integrity. We must embody the values that we stand for namely equality, anti-racism, and fairness. These should be reflected in the way we speak and act driving real change for all members. I also need to mention our students and the wider community we support through our teaching, research and services. This is all at threat like never before, brutally evidenced through austerity, Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic and planetary existential catastrophe.
If elected to NEC, I would concentrate on:
- Building united UK-wide industrial action in defence of pensions and the Four Fights (pay, equality, casualisation and workloads)
- Building strong local branches so that employers negotiate instead of imposing
- Encouraging new union activists