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Rachel Minshull (Leeds City College)

Election address

A firm believer of the life-changing benefits of Further Education, I am committed to UCU and its membership leading me to seek election as the North-East Representative. I have been an active trade unionist throughout my working life across various sectors and as a lecturer, became a UCU rep.

I was lucky to be able to return to access adult education at the college where I now work. Worryingly, others from backgrounds similar to mine increasingly face barriers to accessing FE. I believe we must work together to defend FE provision and support opportunities for all. I am a trade unionist, strongly rooted in core values of social justice and fairness. I have a degree in Social Policy, an MA in Disability Studies and teach across health and social care provision; all impossible without returning to FE.

I am an active rep, supporting members at grievance, disciplinary and redundancy meetings. I attend UCU Regional Committee meetings, speaking passionately about austerity and apprenticeships at Congress as a Regional delegate.

To support members, I take industrial action when needed and organise pickets. I have lobbied Parliament and spoke with MPs. I develop my knowledge and improve my negotiation skills through UCU/TUC training, achieving a Diploma in Employment Law through Trade Union Studies.

I believe UCU's FE priorities should be:

  • Job security - our region faces constant threats of restructure and redundancy. I will campaign against precarity, casualisation and job losses in FE. I believe we can learn from the success of Bradford College and, with membership support, challenge unfair contracts and conditions. I am active in local bargaining, firmly believing effective negotiations improve conditions for staff.  
  • Workload - staff retention and morale are at rock bottom; unmanageable workloads exacerbate this. I will campaign for realistic, achievable workloads and genuine work-life balance within FE. 
  • Pay - in a sector where many have not received a pay rise in years, I will campaign for pay reflecting the hard work, commitment and professionalism of our members.
  • Growing membership - recruiting and mobilising active members and reps to build the union. I am part of an active branch where membership has increased rapidly. I am committed to supporting and advancing this across the region.
  • Lifelong learning - I will campaign for free, inclusive educational opportunities for all. 

I echo UCU General Secretary, Jo Grady, in fighting for a well-resourced, accessible post-16 education sector and investment in staff. I am committed to unity within UCU and working together for effective change.

Defending our members' interests is central to everything I do. Voting for me is a vote for improving the lives and working conditions of FE staff in our region.

Please also vote for: Vice President - Janet Farrar

 

Last updated: 30 January 2020