UCU NEC elections:
Vote Sarah Lahm for Casually-Employed Members
Stamping Out Casualisation,
Building a Member-Led Union Together
I am a postgraduate researcher at the University of Leeds and I work as a teaching assistant. I am originally from Austria and have worked on casualised/hourly-paid contracts in higher education there, as well as in the US, where I first encountered the toll that the marketisation of the education system is taking on staff and students.
My involvement with activism has started here in the North of England after I moved to the UK for my PhD in 2020. Being part of UCU Left and the trade union movement is one of the best things that have ever happened to me and I am in it for the long haul, even though I’ve only been a union member since 2021 and a committee member at the University of Leeds UCU since the start of the fall term 2022.
As a UCU Left candidate, I know that mobilising members to build and support a union that’s always member-led is crucial.
A few things that I’d like to focus on if elected:
- Pushing the UCU’s postgraduate researchers as staff manifesto further to improve the working lives of PGRs and to recognise postgraduate researchers’ role as the backbone of HE
- Working with the anti-casualisation group to help build and expand the Stamp Out Casualisation campaign nationwide
- Treating casualisation as an intersectional issue – it’s crucial that we fight for all casualised staff, but members of staff who are otherwise marginalised are more likely to be on casualised contracts, so working with representatives of migrant members, black members, as well as LGBTQ+ members and disabled members is imperative.
We have particular momentum at this crucial moment, as other unions are and have been out on the picket lines and resistance against the Tories amid the current cost-of-living emergency is at an all-time high. As a member-led, campaigning union, it’s up to us to keep up the fight until we win, and I would love to play this particular part on the NEC. Solidarity, comrades.