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Second GS candidate email from Jo Grady

26 January 2024


Ballot papers for the election of your next general secretary have now been posted to your UCU-registered address.

I am asking for your vote as the only candidate in this election with a detailed, cohesive, and deliverable plan to win for our members. You can read my plan for HE and plan for FE (encompassing adult and prison education) on my website.

Under my leadership, we steered the union through the Covid pandemic, won UK-wide ballots in higher education, won record numbers of ballots and disputes in further education (building the union in the process) and secured multiple victories across adult and prison education. We are already a transformed union since 2019, but still have work to do.

Four years ago, I set out to build a ballot winning culture across all segments of our union, deliver an equalities strategy to be proud of, raise the profile of FE, make more money available via the fighting fund, increase the UCU's standing in the wider movement, gain more media coverage for our members' causes, and win the USS pensions dispute. We did it all.

But I have heard from so many of you that we could do better, and I know we must do more. Many members are struggling with threats to their jobs; and we haven't yet won everything that you deserve when it comes to things like pay, workload, and job security. You deserve candidates in this election who will lay out a plan for how that changes over the next five years, as I have done.

Politically, we are now well set for a Labour government. We know they will not be perfect and will need to be held to account. We will need to insist they deliver for our members. I held the Tories to account during the pandemic and delivered a strategy that kept our members safe. Under my leadership, Labour will never get something for nothing. But we will use the working relationships we've developed with Labour to ensure your concerns and priorities are listened to and addressed.

Industrially, in HE our members want to get off the tired and well-worn merry-go-round of balloting and action. They want a strategy and a plan. Over the last four years I have tried consistently to deliver a coherent approach to our pay disputes, but our executive committee have kept us on the same wheel. You have my promise - if you vote for me and the team supporting me - we will overcome these barriers and deliver a new approach that wins.

We will build membership and density, cut through the union's divided approach to many issues, ensure your needs are represented at the highest levels, and ultimately deliver the change you, as members, need.

Over the next five weeks we will have hustings, campaigning and lobbying across the UK. You will be promised all sorts. Candidates will make pledges.

I would urge all members to take the opportunity to attend one of the hustings to hear from and interrogate all candidates, including me. I know you will bring the common sense and critical thinking I've seen so often from our brilliant members. The national UCU hustings takes place on Thursday 1 February, and I have compiled a list of other hustings I will be attending.

If you can't make a hustings, but would like to ask me a question, you can email me at You can also read the answers to the questions I've already been asked on my FAQ.

Finally, I can't deliver change on my own. If you believe, like I do, in the potential of our incredible union, then I ask you to vote for me and for all the candidates standing for election who support me.

I also ask that in the coming days you do everything possible to convince your colleagues to do the same.  Visit my website to get involved.

Vote Jo Grady#1

Yours sincerely,

Dr Jo Grady.

Last updated: 26 January 2024