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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 February 2019

University and College Union elections - fight for a left leadership

The Leicester College UCU picket line at Abbey campus, 29.1.19, photo Steve Score

The Leicester College UCU picket line at Abbey campus, 29.1.19, photo Steve Score   (Click to enlarge)

Sam Morecroft, Yorkshire and Humber UCU executive (personal capacity)

16 further education colleges just took strike action over pay and conditions. In higher education, we are fighting to beat the Tories' anti-union laws in the equality and pay ballot.

So the University and College Union (UCU) national executive committee (NEC) elections that opened on 1 February come at a crucial time in our union's history.

The fantastic #ussStrikes over pensions, and subsequent disruption at our democratic Congress last year have led to a 'democracy commission'. That is developing proposals to give members the power to recall elected representatives and empowering our membership to hold leaders accountable.

It has become clear that the bureaucratic Independent Broad Left (IBL), who have controlled our union throughout its short history, are more interested in 'partnership' with the employers than fighting to defend our sector. Such is their weakness now, it is possible that we can overturn the IBL majority on the NEC and secure a fighting left leadership.

Socialist Party members in UCU strongly recommend support for the UCU Left slate.

The IBL clique organised around the general secretary must no longer ride rough shod over the democratic will members or sabotage ballots and campaigns.

UCU Left vice-presidential (VP) candidate Jo McNeill only narrowly lost against incumbent Sally Hunt in the 2017 general secretary election.

There are three candidates for VP - Jo, for UCU Left, Vicky Blake, an independent left, and Adam Ozanne for IBL. It is unfortunate that the left have not agreed on one candidate to stand against Ozanne for the membership to unite behind. This is a Single Transferable Vote election, the danger of splitting the vote and allowing the IBL candidate to win is reduced.

While not part of the organised left in the union, Vicky Blake has a good record of leading strike action, and the Socialist Party encourages support for her as well, perhaps in the form of a second preference vote.

We must fight for a left leadership in our union. This fight must be linked to the struggle for a democratic fighting UCU that can smash the Tory ballot thresholds and defend post-16 education.

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In The Socialist 6 February 2019:


What we think

Corbyn must prepare for a general election: Remove the pro-capitalist saboteurs - fight for the socialist alternative


Workplace news

College lecturers strike for a pay rise

University and College Union elections

PCS: Campaign for Chris Baugh for AGS

Traffic wardens' strike is just the ticket

Unison: Democracy and the right to speak out are under threat

Historic strike of nurses in Ireland

Backing for the Birmingham homecarers


News

Tory Brexit farce, Corbyn and unions: Call mass action now

Cash-starved health service ripped off by big pharma - fund our NHS now!

Struggling unis account for bulk of unconditional offers - end education marketisation!

Billionaires avoid paying and even talking about tax! Take the wealth off the 1%

Them & Us


Iranian revolution

40 years since the Iranian revolution: Learning the lessons for today's new working-class struggles


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Haringey 'Corbyn council' must fight borough regeneration

Victory! Campaign reverses Wallasey fire cuts

Sheffield tree campaigners' legal win

Southampton by-election

Worcestershire: save the libraries, reverse all the cuts

'Stansted 15' deportation protesters could face jail

North West Socialist Party conference


International socialist news and analysis

United States: LA teachers' strike defeats privatisers

France gilets jaunes' backed by mass strike action

Sweden: dock strikes test new government

United States: strike ends federal shutdown


Opinion

Film: Vice - Dick Cheney - a cold and calculating opportunist

Theatre: Ballad of Johnny Longstaff

The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

UCU:

triangleUniversity teaching moves online in England

triangleFurther education workers win pay rise in Wales

triangle

Solidarity with Brighton UCU strike - we won't pay for Covid crisis

triangleStrike action ballot at UEL over job cuts

triangleWorkplace news in brief

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triangleRolls-Royce Barnoldswick factory future secured following strike action

trianglePCS Broad Left Network conference

Elections:

triangleMay elections: Tories and Labour's Khan both vying to slash public services

triangleLocal, Wales and mayoral elections

College:

triangleEast London teachers strike in support of victimised union rep

Education:

triangleRefund student rent and fees

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