UCU elections
Taking action in higher education

Dr Eurig Scandrett (Queen Margaret University)

Election address

Senior Lecturer in Public Sociology at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

UCU Scotland Vice-President 2017-2019

Branch officer since 2007

Universities are a public good for social benefit, which justifies public funding, no fees, and free education. This needs a radical reform of university governance and an organised workplace with strong UCUS branches. UCU needs unity to ensure that we can fight effectively for a vibrant higher education sector with strong working conditions, social equality and solidarity, in which the membership actively engages with the work of the union. I am not affiliated to any UCU faction and support issues on the basis of principle and democratic mandate.

For 15 years before university employment, I worked in community education and environmental campaigning. I am a pro-feminist man and have been active in peace, Palestine solidarity and green-left movements. I brought insights from social movement campaigning into my work with UCU.

I have been Branch President, negotiator, Safety and Environment rep, and longstanding caseworker. I have been committed to a shared and extended leadership with well-resourced and supported activists.

As Branch President I negotiated Recognition for UCU with good facilities time allocation, and policies to undermine managerial performance management and challenge workplace stress. QMU branch increased membership by 50%, developed an activist branch structure, and was twice granted UCUS Organising Award.

I took a lead role in the campaign against cuts and redundancies at QMU, with innovative proposals for social ownership and democratic governance, and local, well supported strike action.

Whilst UCUS Vice-President, last year's USS dispute demonstrated how solidarity can be built across the sector. From a post-92 institution, I joined pre-92 comrades on picket lines and at student occupations. During this period, membership in Scotland grew substantially. I promoted initiatives around widening participation, governance and international solidarity and I continue to represent UCUS on Scotland's ground-breaking Just Transition Partnership.

It is important that Scottish post-92 universities are represented in our officers and the NEC and I believe my record shows I am effective in bringing the interests of pre-92 and post-92 universities together.

UCUS has demonstrated vision and action in the face of the growing crisis in HE. The impacts of austerity and marketisation include casualisation and performance management; inequalities between institutions; 'Prevent', the 'hostile environment' and the impacts of Brexit. We must continue to pursue the UCUS-led campaign for accountable university governance, extending its scope to democratising universities, from the governing body to the seminar room. We have consistently challenged gender-based violence and harassment on campus. As leaders in these movements, UCUS has demonstrated that HE policy can be influenced strategically by cooperation, campaigning and industrial action.

Last updated: 30 January 2020