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Mark Abel (University of Brighton)


Election address

A Senior Lecturer in history and politics in the School of Humanities at the University of Brighton who writes on the aesthetics and politics of music, I am currently one of the UK-elected members of the NEC seeking re-election for a second term.

Since 2014 I have been Chair of the UCU Coordinating Committee at Brighton and have successfully led two important local disputes over union recognition, defence of local agreements, and redundancies. Brighton was one of the few branches to exceed the turnout threshold in the 2018 pay ballot and was solidly on strike last November-December over the 'Four Fights'.

In recent years I have taken on the following elected national roles:

  • Member of the Commission on Effective Industrial Action
  • Member of the National Executive Committee
  • Member of the Education Committee
  • Member of the Democracy Commission
  • Co-Vice Chair of the Higher Education Committee
  • National JNCHES negotiator.

As a member of UCU Left I believe in a member-led union which mobilises its members to fight in defence of their own pay and conditions, their academic freedom and professional integrity, and for a free, public higher education system. I am supporting Margot Hill for Vice President.

Through the Commission on Effective Industrial Action and Congress motions from Brighton I have contributed to the development of the strategy of escalating strike action which was so effective during the 2018 USS dispute. At Congress 2019 I moved the motion which committed the union to ballot for strikes over pay and equality this academic year. I seconded the HEC motion calling for the USS and Four Fights disputes to be balloted together and fought concurrently to unite the sector.

There is no separation between the problems facing our members as education workers and wider political issues. I am committed to a union which challenges racism on- and off-campus, whether in the form of universities' discrimination against BAME staff and students, the government's Prevent agenda and the 'hostile environment', or attempts by the far right to grow.

I have pushed the UCU's climate action policies by focusing branch pressure on our local employers' carbon reduction strategies and by building members' involvement in the international youth climate strikes. I have organised solidarity with the Palestinians and other international struggles within the union. I have helped devise branch strategies to tackle workplace discrimination and pay gaps suffered by women, BAME and disabled colleagues, and stand for the right for everyone's choice of gender identity to be respected.

If re-elected, I will continue to seek to strengthen our union by supporting initiatives which empower our members to take action against all the corrosive effects of the marketisation of higher education.


Last updated: 30 January 2020