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Johnathan Leng (Luminate Education Group (Harrogate))

25 January 2024

Election address

During my 18 years as an FE Art tutor at Harrogate College, my role seems to have expanded to include pastoral care, data-analysis, security, fire-marshalling, van-driving, teacher training...  Obviously none of these extra roles has been reflected in my pay, nor my work life balance, which is why I decided to fight back and stand for the NEC.  These themes are common to all of us and addressing them would improve all of our working lives.  Recent experience has taught me that when we organise we can overturn long held norms and make changes that members did not think possible.   

The key issues are:   

Pay - We need to work even harder to overturn the systematic erosion of pay and conditions in our sector and I am determined to see our union fight back and rebuild FE.   

Workload - Resilience and wellbeing training forced on us by employers is an insult not a solution.  I would support a national workload reporting service, where members can use standardised online 'stress audits' to report their workload concerns.   

Casualisation - We have recently campaigned for and won a commitment to put an end to this practice as part of our pay and conditions negotiations. Casualisation further marginalises those who are already underrepresented, such as women, Black and disabled staff and we must campaign for it to end across the UK.   

I have been a UCU representative for 12 years and Branch Chair at Harrogate College for 8 years.  During this time I have supported members through a demerger, a merger, a TUPE transfer and more redundancies than I can count.  This sounds like a lot, but I imagine many members have gone through similar.     

I also understand what it is like working and negotiating with the senior management of huge college group.  I am currently on the Joint UCU Executive Committee at the Luminate Education Group, where we have just negotiated a new workload agreement and decent pay award.  This involved calling hundreds of members in order to get the vote out, checking membership lists, organising picket lines, contacting the press and most importantly supporting our members through this difficult period.   

I understand the importance of representing our members' views at all levels and this is why I am standing for the North East NEC seat. I am a good listener and will bring members' views and not my political affiliations forward.  That is why I am supporting Jo Grady for re-election as General Secretary and David Hunter as UCU Vice-President.  If I am elected, I will work with them for a stronger and forward-looking union. To see who else is committed to this, visit   

Last updated: 25 January 2024