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Special further education sector conference (FESC) decisions

3 May 2023

Dear colleagues

Firstly, a big thank you to all those branch representatives that attended the online special further education conference (FESC) on Saturday 1 April. Over 120 branches were represented and that's an impressive demonstration of the strength of UCU democracy in FE and your commitment to the union.

You can find the results of FESC voting by clicking here.

The results follow the nature of the debates at the special conference where representatives spoke passionately on both sides of the debate about how UCU was fighting back under the nationally coordinated Respect FE campaign and whether now was the time to move to an aggregate national ballot of all branches.

Special FESC has decided that at this time UCU will not be moving to a national aggregate ballot.

We will continue to build the Respect FE campaign and commit national resources to ensure this year we coordinate more branches that want to be part of a nationally coordinated campaign. The Charter will be updated and will be a central feature of the next steps.

The recent e-consultation saw over 50% of members participate with an impressive majority indicating a willingness to take action on pay. We will build our campaign on this firm terrain and engage branches in how best to develop the next phase of campaign.

In line with special FESC decisions, the campaign will be about building membership, effective national coordination, be focused on workplace organisation and capacity in all branches, and encourage branches with high levels of membership and reps to buddy with others. FESC resolved that branches are at the centre of the campaign and will drive the development of the next phase on the ground. Branches will have the autonomy to make and take key decisions in this campaign.

Members will be regularly involved in building the next steps and engaged directly as the campaign develops and grows.

The campaign will also focus on a new national bargaining settlement for FE. We will use the reclassification of FE and the failure of the current national bargaining arrangements as the backdrop to engage branches, employers, and the UK government.

The further education committee (FEC) meets on Friday 28 April and will consider the decisions of the special FESC and consider how the campaign is built before the next FE conference that takes place at the end of May during UCU Congress 2023.

Best wishes

Paul Bridge
UCU head of further education 

Last updated: 3 May 2023