Vote for Elane Heffernan UCU NEC FE Disabled members rep

Election re-run

The election of a representative of disabled members from the FE sector is being re-run due to an error made by Electoral Reform Services. You should have received a new ballot paper (yellow) – please do not use the while ballot paper if you have not already voted.

This election now runs until 10 October.

Please note this is a cross-sectoral equality NEC seat. Higher Education members are also eligible to vote in this election.

Elane Heffernan election leaflet

Please vote for UCU Left member, Elane Heffernan (Hackney College)


I am a welfare officer at Hackney College, where I am also UCU Equality Officer. Before working in FE, I was an Equality Officer in local government working with refugees. I was a leading organiser in the campaign that beat Nick Griffin’s BNP in Barking and Dagenham. I have been a senior union negotiator. I am on Women and Disabled Members Committees. I was part of the fight for adult education funding, which won some protection. I work within the Social Model of Disability—an important step forward in creating a culture of entitlement and dignity for disabled workers in universities and colleges.


My priorities:

  • Extending disabled members’ right to reasonable adjustment, disability leave & equality
  • Building unity between all UCU members against attacks on pay, pensions and jobs
  • Actively supporting branches taking action to defend teachers’ pay and conditions and students’ education
  • Working with Disability Campaigns to defend DSA’s and ALS
  • Making the union relevant to young & hourly paid teachers
  • Increasing the number of workers with impairment who become activists
  • Defending migrant members and students
  • Closing the gender pay gap


We face unprecedented attack from a government out to: Break trade union rights; destroy our pay & pensions; “rationalise” and privatise via Area Reviews and the HE Bill; force students to pay unaffordable fees or to join apprenticeships that are too often low quality with minimal real teaching.

In this climate, disabled workers are often intimidated out of asking for equipment or adjustments to policies needed to sustain dignified employment, or face sickness disciplinary or capability proceedings. Many disabled employees with hidden impairment dare not disclose because through fear of being targeted. Hackney UCU has won significant improvements in relation to reasonable adjustments and separate recording of disability leave, as part of our general fight to defend members’ rights. I have been at the forefront of this — which has not always been pleasant or easy. But it has been worthwhile as more of our members have been able to declare and seek support.

I believe that we can change things through our resistance. I am a product of further education. I am strongly driven by a sense of social justice and by my belief that education can be a real force for liberation.

I am a member of the UCU left. I support Corbyn. Like many disabled workers, I fear for my job every day and know that my only hope is a strong, united union. There will be no victories for disabled members or for equality, except in so far as we unite to defend all of our jobs and conditions. I will do all I can to build our movement.

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Please Vote for Elane for UCU FE Disabled Rep.





One Reply to “Vote for Elane Heffernan UCU NEC FE Disabled members rep”

  1. UCU need Elane Heffernan as disabled FE rep on the NEC. She is a long term activist for disabled people’s rights who also fights for all equality issues, and has a long history of standing up to racism. Elane will work for a union which fights for better working conditions and to defend education. Her recent branch victory, winning better conditions for disabled people, shows she has the skills and the resolve to win.

    Dave Muritu, Chair of UCU Equality Committee, NEC.

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