UCU elections
Taking action in higher education

Sunil Banga (Lancaster University)

Election address

I am a Teaching Fellow in Lancaster University management school. I am the Lancaster University UCU (LUCU) branch vice-president and pensions officer. In my other branch roles, I am the Co-convener for the LU Race Equality Network, Chair of the pensions working group, and Co-convenor of the working group for international staff. I have also been an active member of UCU structures regionally and nationally, having served on the NW Regional Committee as Regional Treasurer, and as a delegate for Congress and HESC for the last three years. I have also been an active caseworker for a number of years.

My trade union roots go back to my university days in Delhi, India. I was the elected vice president of the students union for four years, and subsequently an activist in the Boots Employees Union for a number of years.

As a UCU Left activist, I believe in grassroots trade unionism. I will fight to defend our pensions, pay, jobs and academic freedom. I led the strike action at Lancaster in 2018 and this year in 2019, beating the threshold comfortably with the highest turnout in England in 2018. I have organised transformational pickets in both strike actions with turnout of over 100s. I've organised teach outs, marches, and fund raisers, and I am a negotiator for branch on CCM and JNCC with the university. As a co-convener of the LU Race Equality Network with the Branch President, I lead this new, supportive and grassroots activist network of BAME and non-BAME staff and students, to fight the entrenched structural and institutional racism that BAME colleagues and students face. With the LUCU Equality Officer, I have played a leading role in co-ordinating responses to campus racism. I hope to further this work at national level to fight the current re-legitimation of racism on our campuses and in society in general, and give voice to those students and staff who are marginalised, trivialised or silenced. I hope my efforts will help make our institutions of higher education beacons of equality and diversity.

Finally, I want us to be a strong trade union. I am worried at the increasing marketization of education under the current government. We have seen our wages and pensions being eroded over the last few years, while millions are being invested in estates and dodgy ventures. Good quality teaching and learning has to be underpinned by decent working conditions for staff. I think our profession has a special role and its own special values. I would like to fight for these values, and look forward to contributing to the UCU in this role to the best of my ability.

Last updated: 30 January 2020