Boycott Leicester

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Ann Gow (University of Glasgow)

Election address

I am Senior Lecturer in Information Studies at the University of Glasgow.  I have been active in the branch since joining the university, and have performed several roles on the committee including Secretary (for 10+ years), Casualised Staff & Equality reps.  I have been employed on precarious contracts throughout my early career as an academic-related staff member before moving to the academic track, so I have direct experience of the key issues for UCU members In HE.

I am currently UCU Scotland Immediate Past President (2019-21) and was UCU Scotland President (2017-19). As UCUS Officer, I played a significant role in organising the 2018 & 2019 strikes, leading rallies across Scotland and visiting many pickets. I met with politicians & student groups to seek their support for our action.  I visited numerous branches and am continually overwhelmed by the dedication, resilience and commitment of UCU members and activists.  I have been an active member of the Scottish Government Working group, Equally Safe in HE, a highly effective group working to raise awareness of and reduce gender-based violence in our colleges and universities.

At Glasgow I have been involved in collective campaigns and have led successful negotiations.  This has included a collective grievance over a performance management scheme, a dispute against job cuts (resulting in a commitment to no compulsory redundancies) as well as leading the negotiations that led to the university removing zero hours contracts and developing our Extended Workforce policy.

As a caseworker, I have seen the impact on UCU members of overtly managerial approaches to our work in HE.  A spurious focus on financial targets and performance management has increased workloads, stress and resultant ill-health.  Career development is stifled while casualisation makes it difficult for individuals to take a stand over discrimination and unfair treatment, particularly for women.  By collectivising issues where possible, and encouraging a broad range of members to become involved in campaigning it is possible to mount an effective defence.

The collective involvement of members is the lifeblood of UCU.  During my previous term on NEC I have encouraged colleagues to work together in campaigning effectively in the defence of members' interests.  I have also made it a priority to highlight the positive role further and higher education should play in a progressive society.

I am aware of the challenges members face in participating in union activity, by engaging with and involving members more fully, I believe UCU can maximise participation and make meaningful progress in the issues members face daily, including equality, job security, workload, pay and pensions. I believe in using strikes effectively, galvanising members to back disputes to achieve clear objectives.

I am supporting Janet Farrar for Vice-President.


Last updated: 30 January 2020