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Michael Gove's 'itching militants' speech delivers best recruitment day in union's history

29 November 2011

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UCU sees surge in membership as education secretary delivered attack on striking teachers • Union launches live blogging site with updates on disruptions at universities and colleges

Record numbers of lecturers joined UCU yesterday as Michael Gove delivered an attack on unions, according to membership data analysed today.

Almost 300 people joined the union on Monday, which was more than joined during either of the first two weeks of the month. There has been a steady increase in union membership in November, but yesterday's spike was more than double the previous working day's total of 143. This time last year 33 people joined the union*.

UCU said the education minister was misguided to say educators want families to be inconvenienced by the strikes or that they want people to lose pay. The union said what its members, and the hundreds of thousands of public servants taking action on Wednesday, wanted was proper negotiations, not more government spin.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Despite being possibly the only minister to have stood on a picket line, Michael Gove is still symptomatic of this government's complete lack of understanding of trade unions and working people.

'Educators are far from mindless militants and to suggest they want to inconvenience anybody is incredibly insulting. They would rather be in the classroom than on the picket line tomorrow, but they will fight to save their pensions. They want proper negotiations to secure a resolution to the dispute and it is time for the government to deliver.

'Strike action will always be, quite rightly, a last resort and for Michael Gove or anyone in government to suggest otherwise exposes the contempt with which they hold hard-working public servants.'

The union has launched a live blogging site at www.ucu.org.uk/n30 which will detail disruption at universities and colleges due to the industrial action. You can also follow @ucu on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ucu for updates. An image of the graph showing the spike in members joining UCU is available from the press office.

Weekly breakdown of people joining UCU this month:

Date of Joining

Paper

Online

Total

31 Oct - 6 Nov 11

46

191

237

7 - 13 Nov 11

31

236

267

14 - 20 Nov 11

29

300

329

21 - 27 Nov 11

40

778

818

Daily breakdown of people joining UCU in the last week:

Date of Joining

Paper

Online

Total

22-Nov-11

10

104

114

23-Nov-11

8

133

141

24-Nov-11

8

169

177

25-Nov-11

5

138

143

26-Nov-11

0

49

49

27-Nov-11

0

81

81

28-Nov-11

7

288

295

* Just eight people joined the union on 28 November 2010, however it was a Sunday. On the comparable Monday (29 November 2010) 33 people joined UCU.


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