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Fourth GS candidate email from Saira Weiner

23 February 2024

Dear colleagues,

Equality and Liberation are Trade Union Issues

UCU elections are taking place in the context of many attacks on democratic and workers'  rights. This includes politicians eroding the very concept of equality as a human right, and undermining the 2010 Equality Act, and vicious culture wars. It is crucial we protect, celebrate and expand the important work of UCU's equality standing committees in the face of these attacks. 

  • As your General Secretary I pledge to ensure equality is central to UCU and our equality committees, conferences and networks are fully supported and resourced - never sidelined or ignored.

It's likely we'll see an intensification of racism as the imminent general election unfolds. We must support the rights of refugees and migrants, demanding an end to detention and for the UK to meet international obligations around the rights of refugees. As a union we should recognise and celebrate the contributions of refugees and migrants to society. We must support our members and our students when they face racism and xenophobia.

We cannot allow the burden of labour to address inequality to fall on the shoulders of those most marginalised and oppressed. UCU must adequately support the work of branch and regional equality officers and our NEC Equality Committee.

We must also ensure UCU sets the highest bar as an employer and activist organisation - from workplace stress to creating a safe and inclusive environment.

We should encourage and facilitate grassroots equality initiatives, providing support for members to caucus and organise at branch, city-wide and regional levels. It's important to listen to voices of members who experience discrimination and oppression, removing barriers to union participation and office-holding. 

  • I will ensure this includes staffing and budgetary support and supporting the negotiation of proper facility time for equality work. 

Self-ID has long been a cornerstone of UCU's equality policy. Gender Recognition Act reform is needed to protect trans, non-binary and gender diverse people. UCU must do more to build outward from our progressive internal policies to agitate for GRA reform, legal recognition of non-binary people, and healthcare reform to ensure our siblings are not pathologised and discriminated against while seeking gender affirming care .

We must continue defending abortion rights, and challenge conservative family agendas as well as restrictive existing and emerging gender roles and family structures. 

International solidarity is a cornerstone of equality work. We must work to ensure that the colonialist and racist dehumanisation of people facing war crimes in Palestine, and anywhere, is challenged. 

UCU staff run excellent CPD sessions on many equality topics and we should build on this work to bring more members into union activism and deepen our reps' understanding of every facet of equality work.

As education professionals, we have immense power to bring liberation from oppression closer for everyone through our teaching, research and professional activities, and collectively through our campaigning and negotiation with employers. 

In sectoral bargaining it is crucial to recognise that tackling excessive workloads and ending casualisation are equality issues. We must expose and challenge pay gaps related to gender, race, disability and sexual orientation. The union must fight for a better deal for working parents and members with caring responsibilities. Nobody should be left behind in national bargaining.


Vote to Transform UCU - Vote Saira Weiner for General Secretary

As your General Secretary I will:

  • Be the servant of the members.

    What you decide, through our democratic structures, is what I will do. The deep changes needed in post-16 education will require all our collective discussion, ideas, and strength.


  • Uphold and expand democracy in our union.

Branches, regions, and grassroots organising all have their place to feed into and up through our democratic structures. Under my leadership, UCU will no longer be a top-down organisation.

  • Look for maximum leverage, not protracted battles.

    We know that stop-start action and mandates do not work. I will support members to develop and deliver hard-hitting, escalating action that gets results. No more pauses. If we decide to shut down campuses, that is what we will do.

Please make sure you vote, and please use your vote to bring UCU into a new era of member-led, open, and dynamic campaigning. 

Please vote for UCU Left candidates for VP and NEC.

In solidarity,

Last updated: 22 February 2024