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Speak up for public services, UCU urges

15 December 2006 | last updated: 12 March 2019

UCU is one of 28 unions which have joined forces in a TUC co-ordinated campaign that aims to protect public services from policies that try to make them operate like profit-driven businesses.

The campaign aims to raise the profile of public sector workers, showing how their services protect people, bind them together and boost prosperity, while exposing the dogma that says that the only way to improve public services is to run them like businesses. Speak up for public services : This link opens in a new window

The TUC is organising a major lobby of parliament on 23 January 2007, where public sector employees will tell their MPs that while they believe there is always going to be room for improvement in the UK's vital public services, any advances must come about as a result of increased investment and working with staff, not the involvement of the private sector.

The 'Speak up for public services' lobby will starts at 11.30am further details will be confirmed in the new year. UCU branches are urged to support this vital campaign. Campaign materials can be accessed from the TUC's Speaking up for Public Services website.

Tony Lloyd MP, chair of the Trade Union Group of Labour MPs, has put down early day motion 499 which supports the lobby and calls for policy to be directed by respect for the public service ethos rather than the ideology of the free market. Early day motions (EDMs) are a good way for MPs to show their support for a campaign.

UCU members are asked to lobby their MPs to ensure that as many as possible sign it. Some of the points below, but personal experience is always more effective:

  • Gordon Brown has said that, 'With China and India turning out not just four million graduates a year to Britain's 400, 000.... We can no longer afford to write off the talent or waste the potential of any young person'. Tony Blair has said that 'Universities and colleges play a vital role in expanding opportunity and promoting social justice'.
  • Yet, the structure of UK higher education funding promotes competition between universities which is concentrating resources in a few of the biggest institutions and leading to damaging department closures across the country.
  • The drive to promote closer business involvement in research is distorting the research agenda and poses a threat to academic freedom.
  • The latest figures show that student fees have led to a 3.5% fall in applications.
  • Under-resourcing in universities has created staff-student ratios for lecturers of 19:1, higher than those in secondary schools, as well as casualisation for young lecturers and researchers and heavier workloads for academic-related staff.
  • If we are to have first-rate higher education, open to all, it must be protected and properly resourced. We need to ensure that it is not subject to market-style competition and that it is safeguarded from the control of businesses whose first priority is profit.

Read the full text of the EDM and find out whether your MP has signed it here.