For a democratic campaigning union driving real change
I am Principal Lecturer in Criminology with over 30 years experience teaching at both pre- and post-92 universities. I am Branch Co-Chair at the University of Greenwich UCU and HE Secretary UCU London Region.
I’m 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 made me step up and actively promote 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, and now challenging a new workload system and low London weighting. Unions can make a difference.
I have always volunteered alongside my teaching and research most recently elected to the board of Amnesty International UK, supporting a local migrants anti-raid network, and 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 against 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 am active in the UCU Solidarity Movement. The principles of solidarity demand we work together, listen to all and build a strong member-led union of volunteer activists defending our collective rights for a free public higher education system rather than a marketised, exploitative system driven by a competitive, financialised management culture.
Driving Real Change
I ask you to elect me to your NEC so that I can speak for you. This industrial action, ASOS and MAB has not worked but it must. We need clear communications for the central union leadership, a better, collectively agreed strategy, which is then stuck to, prepared for well in advance with rep training and adequate financial support. No more pauses, suspension of action, gaps which demoralise and leave MABing members facing bullying and marking for free all whilst some branches continue to face job losses and punishing salary deductions. This is not good enough. Let me represent you on NEC, fight for the HE sector we want, defend 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 tutoring. This is all at threat like never before, brutally evidenced through austerity, Brexit, pandemic, cost of living and planetary existential catastrophe. We must work with our students, other trade unions and local communities to tackle these threats and build a worthwhile education system.