Fighting fund banner


Regine Pilling (Westminster Kingsway College (Capital City College Group))

25 January 2024

Election address

I teach A Level Politics and Sociology at Westminster Kingsway College. I joined UCU in 2009 and have always been an active member holding roles as Anti-Casualisation rep and Branch Chair.  

Currently I am:  

·     NEC FE Women's Rep  

·     Branch Secretary  

·     London Region Chair   

FE is in crisis - staff are burnt out from unmanageable workloads and are leaving the sector due to poor pay and micromanagement that prevents them from teaching. I'm standing for NEC to ensure we take on these issues and build a national campaign that wins for all branches and levels up the sector.  

Over the last year we've seen FE branches fightback and win better pay and working conditions. My college was one of the branches that took action - our membership increased, new members joined the picket lines every day and members felt emboldened to push back against management's unreasonable demands. The e-consultative ballot was historic with 51% of members voting for action. UCU must provide clear leadership on how we can win in FE. Those branches that missed the threshold in the statutory ballot need support to ensure they're able to beat thresholds and win for members.  

As educationalists we need to fight for education to be at the heart of FE. Students have suffered greatly and have increased support needs, yet colleges have cut much of the emotional and academic support. Managers continually task us with chasing attendance and meeting "attendance quotas" with little regard for the personal difficulties students face. In many colleges, GLHs have been cut, yet staff are still expected to cover the curriculum and meet national benchmarks. UCU needs to take on these issues and resist the marketisation of education.  

We know FE is a lifeline to many students - it deserves more funding. We've seen the government begin to increase funding, but this needs to dramatically increase. Moreover, we need to campaign for this funding to be spent on students and staff - not management vanity projects and overblown Principals' pay. 

Equality must be at the heart of our activity. Women, Black and disabled members are more likely to be on HPL contracts. We must challenge staff sickness policies that often demonise disabled members, women, and older members. We need to resist PREVENT, the DofE limiting solidarity with Palestinians and the over policing of our young people.  

UCU must be a democratic member-led organisation. Our regional meetings are places where reps can discuss issues and strategies. I chaired the FE national strike committee - this was a crucial to debate industrial strategy with reps on the ground. We must continue to build these networks in FE, as our strength is in our unity.  

I'm a UCU Left member.

Last updated: 25 January 2024