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Michael Carley (University of Bath)

31 January 2020

Election address

Michael Carley, Senior Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath


Today, our union has to deal with the problems of success. In Higher Education, the 2018 USS dispute showed us what is possible organizationally and industrially when a national leadership in tune with branch activists and members develops a strategy that inspires action. The legacy of that strike is disputed: my view is that it demonstrates what is possible and that we should not squander the organizational gains we have made by assuming that the issues we have to face are simple and easily resolved, or reducible to a misleading binary of "grass-roots" versus "bureaucrats".

I am an experienced trade unionist who has served at every level of UCU, and as the secretary of Bath Trades Council. My track record at branch level includes time as vice-president, president, and Health and Safety convenor, as well as supporting invidual members in personal cases. I have been a branch officer when times were hard and membership low, and have seen the branch grow and gain confidence. I have helped organize strikes on pay and pensions, and was involved from the beginning in the campaign against excessive pay which led to the resignation of the Vice-Chancellor and the ongoing reform of governance at the University of Bath. Most recently, we have won agreements on ending casualized contracts and recognition of UCU for collective bargaining for professors.

I have chaired the South West regional committee and I have served on NEC for two years. One of my first acts on NEC was to draft andsuccessfully move the change in standing orders which makes NEC minutes available within two weeks of a meeting, an important step for transparency and members' understanding of how our union makes decisions. More broadly, my blog has offered non-factional analysis of what is happening inside the union, organizationally and in its internal politics, and the strategic questions which NEC has to deal with.

I have served two years on the NEC's Education Committee, considering issues of academic freedom and support for members' CPD, andcontributing an article to a forthcoming UCU publication on managerialism in education, arising from my role in the successful campaign to reform governance at the University of Bath.

I am an immigrant and have supported migrant workers including by drafting and moving the Congress motion which led to UCU extending legal support to immigration-related cases.

I am not now, and have never been, a member of any faction in UCU. I am an independent candidate, free to act in the best interests of UCU and its members.


Last updated: 31 January 2020