Rob Goodfellow, a lecturer at Hull College was recently elected as President of UCU for 2016 – 2017.
Between spots at the rostrum of this year’s TUC, where he presented UCU’s view on post 16 education he took some time out to talk about his views on all things UCU. Interview by Scottish UCU President and NEC member Douglas Chalmers, and thanks to Julia Charlton for helping with the filming.
“We’ve made an impact at the TUC – everyone who wanted to speak on a motion did so. If we hadn’t been here….. less people would have been ‘educated’ ”.
This view of Rob Goodfellow, half in jest, encapsulated the feeling of the UCU delegates to the TUC in Brighton this year. Speaking on a whole range of issues from Post-16 Education, the European Union, Professional Status, to Challenging the Politics of Hate, our delegation made a very positive impact both from the rostrum and in our networking between times.
NEC member Julia Charlton spoke on immigration, HE Vice President elect Joanna de Groot spoke on the European Union, Vicki Knight, VP spoke on Prison Education, NEC member Pauline Collins spoke on the need for people to work smarter, not just longer, and Vicky Blake from the UCU’s anti-casualisation committee, asked a question about the TUC’s work on casualization and Douglas Chalmers moved a successful emergency motion on Colombia.
Between appearances at the rostrum, Rob took some time out to give his views on a range of issues UCU will encounter under his presidency (Interview 12 mins long).
In England, for H.E, a priority for the union had to be the White Paper – which allowed private providers to operate a ‘smash and grab’ – taking profits and disappearing, leaving taxpayers to clear up the mess and help students affected.
In F.E, the area reviews were essentially just a means to save money “but it’s a paltry sum, but will have a huge impact on staff, on students and on the local communities”
A key question that post 16 education had to answer was “how far a distance would be travelled by a student and their families” while on their educational journey – “that’s not measured in league tables”
In terms of his own role, Rob saw the President’s job to be to safeguard the democracy of the union, while the union had to take some pragmatic choices.
In terms of the ‘culture’ of the union – making Congress better in terms of its own culture and practice? “I want branches to see what’s in it for them – get them engaged by sending resolutions and delegates. If it’s a case of two blocs voting I don’t want that anymore than anyone else does”…