I would like to congratulate everyone who stood in this year’s election and to all those who won seats on the UCU NEC. I would especially like to congratulate Vicky Blake in winning the Vice President’s position. Vicky will work hard and will serve our members well and I look forward to working with her in the future. Finally I would like to congratulate Carlo Morelli for winning the UCU President position in Scotland. Carlo is a tireless activist who I know will be a real asset to Scottish members.
It is clear that the post-sixteen education sector faces enormous challenges. In Further, Adult and Prison Education we face the consequences of budgets that have been cut by 40% in the last five years. In Higher Education we face the rampant increase of marketisation, cuts in pay and pensions, job losses and our professional autonomy under attack.
It will take more campaigns like the one we participated in over USS and the one we are seeing at the moment in FE, if we are to be able turn back the tide of regressive education policies and funding deficits.
I believe we can do this. But it will take a leadership that understands industrial tactics and not only supports effective action but one that that is prepared to see these fights through to victory.
This is why I will be putting myself forward for the position of GeneralSecretary of UCU.
We need a genuine grassroots candidate who is not tainted by the mistakes of the past. I ran against Sally Hunt two years ago and won 41% of the vote, I ran on a platform of change and that change is now needed more than ever. With one current paid official already standing, we now need a candidate who is not disconnected from our membership, will always be accountable to members and someone who will step up and transform UCU.
Finally, I would like to thank all those who voted for me in the VP election. The combined vote for the left was 64%. A united campaign around one left candidate would have a good chance of success in this new election. I believe I am that candidate.