UCU Left congratulates all the successful candidates in the UCU elections. We would like to thank all those members who voted for UCU Left candidates and helped us achieve some excellent results.
Our candidates did extremely well in general, winning about half the seats up for election. These results should mean that the left is in a majority on both the FEC and HEC.
Unfortunately, despite running an impressive campaign, our candidate for Vice President, Juliana Ojinnaka, was unsuccessful. The result was very tight and was influenced by another candidate who split the left vote.
However the results mean that, especially when it comes to HEC, the left should be able to win on some of the issues it has narrowly lost this year and ensure that the wishes of members expressed at conferences and branch delegate meetings are more likely to be respected.
A further bout of strike days for the USS and Four Fights disputes was announced on Friday. Half the branches with a mandate will take five days of action in the week beginning 21 March, and half will strike during the following week.
Splitting the union’s forces in this way was not what branch delegates were in favour of. Nor do five-day strikes represent the escalation that many branches have been pressing for. In addition, it is concerning that branches weren’t consulted on the dates, and that some members are being asked to strike and sacrifice their pay during vacation or reading weeks.
Nevertheless, the action that has been called reunites the disputes and avoids the de-escalation and demobilisation of the regional one-day rolling strikes endorsed – contrary to the wishes of members – at January’s HEC.
UCU Left urges activists to redouble their efforts to build these strikes and make them as successful as possible. Hitting our institutions for a week at a time can put pressure on our employers to shift from their intransigent position. And it is through strong, vibrant action that we will create the climate to give us the best chance of extending our mandates in reballots for strikes and marking boycotts in the summer term.