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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 March 2007

UCU general secretary election

Vote for Roger Kline

LAST YEAR saw the merger of the two main post-school education trade unions, the AUT and NATFHE into the University and College Union (UCU). Currently members are voting for a general secretary and a national executive (NEC).

Andrew Price, member for FE in Wales of the UCU Transitional NEC, personal capacity

Three candidates are up for general secretary - Sally Hunt (currently joint general secretary of UCU), Roger Kline (an official heading the union's Equality and Employment unit) and Pete Jones, a lay activist from the Further Education (FE) sector.

Nearly 14 years after the passing of the infamous Tory 'Further and Higher Education Act' the dire effects of the introduction of market forces into the provision of post-school education are plain to see.

University top up fees, New Labour's policies will soon mean 10,000 annually with increased problems for working-class students and university funding.

University lecturers today are among the worst paid of all teachers in both school and post-school education.

Only in Wales (where the union is left-led) has pay parity between FE lecturers and school teachers been achieved. In England it is still a long way off. In Northern Ireland our members have recently taken strike action to achieve this goal.

New Labour has actually increased the Tory pressure of privatisation and cuts. Currently our FE members are fighting some appalling attacks on English as a Second Language (ESOL) provision.

Against this background UCU needs a left general secretary who can give the lead all our members need.

Nobody claims that Sally Hunt is a left candidate, and her victory may be welcomed by the employers and by government ministers. Many activists see her hand in the unsatisfactory settlement of the university pay dispute last summer.

Her unprincipled position of "members first and politics second" helps nobody and threatens the work of the union in opposing both the occupation of Iraq and racism and fascism.

Roger Kline and Pete Jones are both left candidates with much to offer. But in this two-horse race between Roger and Sally Hunt a vote for Kline is the best way to avoid a Hunt victory.

For this and other reasons Socialist Party members in UCU call upon all members to vote for Roger Kline. But more importantly we must build a strong union from below that will campaign for a publicly owned and accountable post-school education system, where all workers are properly rewarded.

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In The Socialist 1 March 2007:

NHS crisis: clean out the profiteers

NHS: No more delays - for a mass demo!

No to NHS marketisation

Betraying the NHS

Socialist Party news and analysis

Cumbria rail crash: Safety not profit

South London shootings: The bitter effect of poverty and alienation

Fighting for women's rights

Take over the robber banks!

Socialist Students

Protesting across the country

War and terrorism

Make anti-war movement an unstoppable force

Socialist Party congress

Congress to build the forces of socialism

Socialist Party congress appeal

Support the socialist with a May Day greeting

International socialist news and analysis

Italy: Political crisis grips Prodi government

Latin America: A continent in revolt

Workplace news and analysis

Visteon victory for shop floor

Threat to Tower Colliery jobs

Unique care workers lobby

Protests make council back off

Jobs and services, not cuts and excuses!

Burslem posties stand firm

Unison: Build genuine opposition on the left

Vote for Roger Kline


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