The UCU Independent Broad Left (IBL) network supports the need for UCU to make hard strategic choices about prioritising resources to meet the challenges we face in this ever more hostile environment for post-16 education. This requires a union leadership which puts members first, and seeks to involve them, and emphasises core professional and trade union issues – education, research, jobs, pay, conditions, equality and professional autonomy.
With this in mind, we have no hesitation whatsoever in supporting Vicky Knight’s candidature as VP of the union. (Download her election address here)
A message to all UCU members from Vicky:
“This Government’s ideological agenda is clearly hurting everyone in our communities. As workers, educators and researchers we are continually doing more for less, in increasingly stressful environments – over-worked, underpaid, our workplace rights eroded, increasingly precarious in terms of job security, our professionalism undermined, and terms and conditions constantly under attack with privatisation looming.
We also face the (anti) Trade Union Bill, designed to subvert our right to strike, congregate and demonstrate – all of which are fundamental trade union and workers’ rights.
We must maintain at all costs the right to withdraw our labour – an action which UCU members never undertake lightly. Our strength is our democracy, using our collective ability to negotiate and exhaust political alternatives rst.
In order to defend our members in the current climate, a vital objective and focus of the union must be the strengthening of our branches – the absolute foundation of our membership – including increasing our numbers, and thus empowering us to use our collective bargaining and negotiation skills to improve members’ lives.
If you vote for me, you vote for a strong independent voice working hard for, and responsive to, all UCU stakeholders, for the benefit of all, inclusively and equally, in both HE and FE.”
Some aspects of Vicky’s experience.
- is a trade union studies lecturer at The Manchester College.
- has 25 years’ active experience within the public sector, in both the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and UCU.
- has a strong commitment to the principles of justice, equality of opportunities, fairness, inclusivity and a voice for all.
- holds branch, regional and national representative positions in UCU, including NEC membership and FE negotiator.
- is a member of the UCU Equality and Women’s Committees.
- has represented UCU at the TUC annual Congress,TUC Women’s Conference and TUC Women’s Committee.
- has been chair of the TUC Women’s Committee for the last two years.
Vicky believes that:
- in the face of relentless government and employer attacks on further and higher education, our unity is our strength.
- our union, funded by members for members, must use democratic structures to represent the needs and aspirations of all, working in all roles across our institutions – and not be used as a vehicle to progress the agendas of any external political organisation or grouping
See below for endorsements of Vicky and her approach from a wide range of UCU members.
Why we support Vicky:
“Vicky is a champion of equality, a tireless fighter for disadvantaged people, dynamic and inspirational. A vote for Vicky is a vote for equality which is at the heart of our union.”
Mary Jennings, NEC, Chair of the Equality Committee, and Cambridge University UCU
Angela Roger, NEC, Honorary Treasurer, and Dundee University UCU
“Vicky will be a strong, independent Vice- President who will put members’ interests first. She is undoubtedly best placed to ensure that we are effective, united and strong.”
Jenny Prideaux, NEC, Chair of Recruitment, Organising and Campaigns Committee and FEC Vice-Chair
“Vicky’s commitment to gender equality shines through all her work, and her wide experience has given her a good understanding of how a modern union can act successfully in an age of austerity, winning gains for both our own members, and for the wider movement in general.”
Douglas Chalmers, NEC, President of UCU Scotland
“I am convinced that Vicky will unite the different facets of the union and provide a strong member-led voice.”
Rob Goodfellow, NEC, UCU President-elect and Hull College UCU
“Vicky is a talented and committed campaigner and organiser working on the issues which we really care about (from gender equity to decent working conditions) and is someone who understands the needs of HE as well as FE.”
Joanna de Groot, NEC, Vice-President (HE) and York University UCU
“Vicky has what is needed to lead the agenda for UCU: experience, focus and a commitment to represent members at grass roots level and take her lead from them.”
Carolyn Campbell, former NEC member and Trafford College UCU
“If you want someone who has years of experience and will negotiate with knowledge and skill, vote for Vicky. If you want someone who wants to win, not just to debate, then vote for Vicky.”
Pat Hornby-Atkinson, NEC and Edge Hill University UCU
All comments above are in personal capacity.