UCU NEC elections:
Vote Roddy Slorach for London and the East HE
For a campaigning and democratic member-led union
I work as a disability advisor at Imperial College London; I am one of several academic-related staff active on the local UCU committee. I was elected branch secretary at last year’s AGM, having helped build our meetings and reps network over the years, particularly since the huge and transformative strikes over USS in March 2018.
Since summer 2020, I have worked with activists in other UCU branches to build the UCU Solidarity Movement. This network has grown over the last 18 months to become a vital means of building support for disputes across the different sectors of our union and it also provides an important forum for discussion among activists.
As a member of UCU Left, I want to build a member-led union that campaigns for a free public higher education system. Many of the problems we face are a direct consequence of the marketisation of education. Our employers see staff as overheads to be cut and students as customers to be exploited. The result is ever-growing workloads, constant bullying and harassment, and increasing mental distress across the workforce. We must tackle excessive workloads and defend the post 92 national contract.
Uniting the Four Fights and USS disputes has built unity across the pre- and post-92 HE sectors, and made each dispute stronger.
Widespread concerns over the return to campus last autumn convinced me to also become a Health and Safety rep. After the government reversed its policies over COVID-19 last summer, our management removed signage requiring mask-wearing and social distancing on campus. I helped ensure management put up new signage at the start of the new term.
My priorities in standing for the NEC include the defence of our pay and conditions, our academic freedom and our professional integrity. I am also supporting Juliana Ojinnaka for Vice President.
I am proud of my union’s work in promoting equality, which I believe must be central to our concerns as education workers. I’ve taken an active interest in disability issues for many years, have published a book on the history and politics of disability and was previously active on the UCU Disabled Members Standing Committee. We must continue to challenge racism on campus and more widely, defend BAME staff and students. I stand for everyone’s right to choose their own gender identity and to have that identity respected.
The climate emergency has become one of our most urgent and priority campaigning issues. I helped initiate a new coalition uniting Imperial staff and students campaigning for immediate action over the climate crisis. I believe this work to be a vital part of building closer staff and student solidarity.