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Alison Hawkings (University of West London)

25 January 2024


Election address

I am a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of West London (Post 92) and am part of the UCU UWL Executive Team with responsibility for Health & Safety and Wellbeing. UWL is a small branch, but has grown and is building activism. I have worked in the Higher Education sector for more than a decade, half as an hourly paid lecturer and half, now, fulltime. I have experienced precarity and on the other side I have experienced and have witnessed the effects of punishing workloads on myself and members; organised and participated in strike action; and negotiated and consulted for better working conditions locally through building alliances with sister unions to meet joint goals. 

 We come to these elections at a time of great insecurity in the world and in the workplace. There are attacks on academic inquiry, freedom to associate and protest and all the while education leaders continue to refuse us fair pay. They have the cash to do it - they just don't want to. 

This is the time when we need to move together as a single voice focused on common ground campaigns which impact and benefit large and small branches alike. The union is for everyone. This is a good time to reboot and elect new voices with different branch experiences to NEC. 

NEC and HEC for many are mysterious entities. What is HEC; who are they; what does NEC do again? These are all FAQs I hear at branch level. Sound familiar? 

I am standing as a NEC London and East HE candidate to raise the profile and representation of smaller branches. I feel I can come to the NEC as a clean sheet with new ideas and a can do future forward attitude.  

My take on the role, if elected, is to highlight the concerns and experiences of branches under 400 members and to find actionable ways we as a Union can mentor and raise support. If current strategies have not had an impact then it is time for new ones. 

This brings us on to Post 92 institutions. Post 92s often work in a different way to Pre 92s in terms of semester length; the existence of reading weeks; and using exams as final assessment.  Post 92s are also not one size fits all - there is nuance here which many members feel needs to be voiced in a stronger way at a national NEC and HEC level.  

As a union we must demonstrate to our members that every member counts and that we are committed to improving conditions at a local and national level.  

Last updated: 25 January 2024