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Saira Weiner (Liverpool John Moores University)

25 January 2024

Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at LJMU (2013- present)

Casualised lecturer/researcher in HE (2010-2013)

Branch Secretary LJMU UCU (2018-present)

NW Regional Committee - Chair / Vice Chair (HE) (2019-present)

UCU NEC Women's Rep (HE) (2014-2016)

Chair of Women's Standing Committee (2015-2016)

UCU NEC Northwest Rep (HE) (2019-2023)

Chair of Recruitment, Organising and Campaigns Committee (2022-2023)

Disabled, Jewish, anti-racist and socialist, pro-Palestinian.

I'm an anti-racist activist, and campaigner for LGBT+, women, and other oppressed and marginalised groups. I proposed UCU links to Calais to support refugees on the UCU Equality Committee, and was on the first UCU delegation there.

As branch secretary and previously as branch chair at LJMU, I am the lead negotiator and caseworker. We have transformed branch committee to represent our diverse membership, encouraging members to be active in all decision-making processes.

HE is in crisis. Members have made huge efforts over recent months, taking unprecedented levels of industrial action, facing real hardship. Yet we still face low pay, casualisation and a growing wave of redundancies.

It didn't have to be like this, had our union leadership matched the resolve of members.

Our HEC and National Executive must be at the forefront of resistance, not cover for our leaders' inaction. Right now, there is a democratic deficit in our union. Decisions made by members at Congress and Sector Conferences have been constantly undermined by our General Secretary, leaving members frustrated and marginalised.

Post-92 members often feel unheard in our union. Now we face increasing redundancies and restructures which impact our students too, who often come from disadvantaged communities. We need a UK-wide response to the current attacks, from the Four Fights campaign to the potentially disastrous changes to the Teachers Pension Scheme.

The stop-start strategy on the Four Fights, despite the heroic actions of branches taking significant strike and other industrial action, needs to be addressed collectively. It is important that members are involved in significant industrial decisions, through agreed democratic processes, not endless surveys.

When a strategy is agreed by HE Sector Conferences (including Special Conferences during disputes), or national strike committees, it must be carried out. That's democracy!

Members backed significant strike action and, had this been adhered to, we could have won significant pay increases, better contracts for casualised members, and met our equalities demands. We need a new strategy to win these campaigns.

UCU must also continue showing active opposition to the unconscionable, colonial genocide in Gaza. We need to defend academic freedom and promote Boycott Disinvestment and Sanctions.

I believe in real member-led democracy. I am not afraid to have my voice heard or listen to members.

As a member of UCU Left, I urge you to vote for our other fighting candidates.

Last updated: 25 January 2024