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Lauren Mura (Blackburn College)

Election address

About me

I am seeking election as a UK-elected FE member of UCU's NEC because I believe passionately in our strength as a collective unit and in protecting further education in the most challenging of times. The status and importance of FE has been eroded by the policies of recent governments and the staff and students have borne the brunt of this hardship. The impact of cuts in the most deprived areas have pushed us into a Dickensian nightmare, and we seem to be facing the same battles over and over again.

I have been a trade unionist since my university days, joining UCU when I began working in FE as a lecturer at Blackburn College, where I still work today. I became active after my maternity leave during which I saw first-hand the importance of a strong union in a branch.  In 2016 I was elected as Vice-Chair of my branch at Blackburn College and in June 2019 I was elected as Chair. Since then my priorities have been rebuilding the branch while trying to reverse member apathy. I have a strong belief in justice and have represented members at redundancy consultations, pay claims, investigations, disciplinaries, grievance hearings, appeals and negotiations to win staff permanent contracts.

I believe UCU's priorities should be:

Pay - the AoC's recommendation of 1% is insulting, when over one third of all college principals gave themselves a pay rise in the last year. But what we have learnt is that local bargaining is proving effective. Branches need to be supported and guided in campaigning locally for a pay deal. Too many members have been convinced that requesting a pay rise will lead to further redundancies. We need to be fighting for our own worth instead of relying on employers to recognise it.

Workloads - the pressure on lecturing and academic-related staff alike increases year on year; harsher observation policies, risk of capability proceedings and staff cutbacks mean staff are burning out but scared to ask for help. The erosion of our profession means we have become second-class citizens in our own workplaces; permanently under risk of job losses and insecurity.

Build the Union - creating strong, active branches with motivated members is the only way to fight back against the unreasonable workloads and conditions. I firmly believe that we are stronger united, and we have nothing to fear but our own apathy.

A vote for me is a vote for fairness, professional recognition and action. It's a chance to get our voices heard again.

Please also vote for Janet Farrar as Vice President

 

Last updated: 31 January 2020