Fighting fund banner


Safia Flissi (South and City College Birmingham)

25 January 2024

Election address

I am employed as an ESOL Lecturer at South and City College Birmingham.  My work involves teaching English to students who are migrants and refugees, keen to learn English and build a new life in the UK.  Many of my women students experience learning English as an emancipatory process in which they gain confidence and find new horizons for women.

Union Experience

UCU Branch Vice-Chair South and City College Birmingham

West Midlands Region Membership Officer 2016-2018, 2022 to present

UCU Branch Secretary 2014-2020 South and City College Birmingham

West Midland Region FE Chair 2020-2022

I am standing for election for a National Representative of Women Members seat because I am committed to equality being at the heart of UCU's work in our negotiations and campaigning.  From both my teaching experience and my work as a UCU rep, I am conscious that there is still much to be achieved in terms of gender equality.

Women in post-16 education face salary discrimination, harassment, and challenges related to sexism, disability, race, family role, and identity. If elected, I am committed to addressing these issues head-on. I'll advocate for policies that promote equality, inclusivity, and fair treatment for all. If elected, I will work for fair pay for women by supporting equal pay audits identifying gender pay gaps. I will also support UCU work in advocating for social equality for women in the wider society, in public life and in union office-holding.  We must recognise how cuts in the welfare state, health and social care and public services hit all workers, but especially women workers with caring responsibilities.

I support the work of UCU's structures for the promotion of gender equality, including the Women Members' Standing Committee and Annual Conference.  It is important for unions to provide a space where oppressed groups can meet and formulate demands.

In the last academic year, I led members at SCCB through a successful 7-day strike, securing a ground breaking pay rise of 5.6 to 11%, the first in a decade.  Nevertheless, our battle does not end here; I am determined to fight until salaries align with inflation rates and make up for past pay gaps.

Whatever sector UCU members work in there are challenges of pay falling behind inflation, attacks on pensions, impossible workloads and extensive casualisation. The inflation rate's impact is severe, especially on single parents, predominantly women, and those in casualised and insecure employment.

As a strong believer in the democratic processes of UCU and as a UCU Left supporter, I know that with your support UCU can fight back successfully against attacks on pay and working conditions and build colleges and universities as places which support equality and inclusivity.

Last updated: 25 January 2024