Fighting fund banner


Mike Barton (London retired members' branch)

25 January 2024

Election address

I was a member of NATFHE then UCU since its inception. I have been a member of the UPW, TGWU, AUEW, MU, GPMU & Amicus. For several years, I was the assistant secretary of Waltham Forest Trades Council. 

I retired in 2019. I worked for six years at City and Islington College on a Variable Hours Contract where I became a casualised rep, serving two years on the Anti Casualisation Committee. 

In 2011, I was a full time Computing lecturer at North West Kent. Lecturers' contracts required membership of the Institute for Learning for CPD. The IFL then imposed a fee which was boycotted by UCU. The IFL threatened to ban boycotting lecturers from the classroom. As the deadline for payment approached, UCU's full-time officials conceded. However, the UCU Further Education Committee voted to maintain the boycott and the IFL then withdrew the fee. The lesson is that negotiations must include elected lay officers not just officials or officers handpicked by officials. 

In 2013 as branch secretary at Redbridge College, we resurrected a dormant branch but were then derecognised. After a merger with two colleges with strong branches, we achieved a recognition agreement. In 2017 we struck for better pay. The branch was offered a deal which would raise academic salaries. This offer was refused until management also agreed to negotiate on academic support contracts. 

Both with the IFL and at Redbridge College, it was local organisation plus effective regional organisation which was effective.  

I am very concerned at the treatment of Unite staff at UCU headquarters and the recruitment of some senior staff to a different union.  As a Trustee I would work hard to ensure the welfare of UCU staff and good working relationships between UCU paid employees and elected officers. 

I am a director of the Big Ride for Palestine which organises an annual bike ride in solidarity with Palestine and raises funds for both the Middle East Childrens Alliance and the Gaza Sunbirds (a Gaza-based paracycling team). 

We are facing a government attacking workers' rights and keen to use the courts to attack these rights. The role of trustee is not one of political leadership but I believe it is important to elect trustees who understand that our unity and organisation are key to defending the union. 

As a trustee I will be a faithful and responsible steward of UCU assets, making sure we protect our ability to represent members, when they need representation, and keep our finances in good order, so that we can operate as an independent trade union.  I support building up the fighting fund so that we can support major disputes, such as at Brighton University, when needed. 

Last updated: 25 January 2024