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Jo Edge (University of Edinburgh)

25 January 2024

Election address

When I submitted my election address for this role four years ago, I was a precarious worker. Nothing has changed. Currently a research fellow in History at the University of Edinburgh, my contract will expire in about a year, after which I'll be thrown into uncertainty again.  Over the past two years, I have had to spend all my spare time writing my first book, which is essential for getting my next job.  It's miserable, and I'm exhausted - but very far from alone. Precarity is rife across all our sectors, especially for women. But unless we organise and mobilise with a long-term, robust industrial plan, there's little chance of improvement. 

Nothing has better demonstrated the need for a well-thought out plan which maximises resources and energy than this summer's failed marking and assessment boycott. With 56% of members voting to reject UCEA's offer on pay and conditions in March, I believed that we didn't have a strong enough mandate. So, I voted for a motion at the SHESC in April which said we shouldn't action a MAB without a 2/3 majority. Relatedly, I voted to send out UCEA's offer on pay and conditions to members without any recommendation in March. I have consistently voted against indefinite strike action because for such action to work we need a strong plan in place first. 

At a recent HEC I backed a motion to put a five-year plan in place around our industrial strategy. We need to find ways to consult members beyond BDMs or e-consultations. We need all members to feel empowered to shape our strategy. This is even more important for our FE, Prison and Adult Education members whose voices we need to hear more of in our union. 

If re-elected, I will bring a rule change to Congress to open out the nomination process to our Equality Standing Committees, removing branch approval as the sole mechanism. Changing this process will enable more casualised and marginalised members to get involved in our equality work.  

Despite my precarious status (and physical distance from my workplace) I have been branch Treasurer for the last 18 months, alongside UK-level roles as chair of the Women Members' Standing Committee (Sept 2022-present) and the Equality Committee (2022-3). As a member of UCU Commons ( I am an unequivocal supporter of trans rights.  

We can change things for the better by working together and being critical allies to one another. This is why I am supporting Jo Grady for re-election as General Secretary and David Hunter as UCU Vice-President. If elected, I will work with them for a stronger and more forward-looking union. To see who else is committed to this, visit 

Last updated: 25 January 2024