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Getting involved in equality

16 November 2011

This page provides information for members wanting to find out more about UCU's equality work and how to get more involved with the work the union does.

Sex workers and education

A briefing on the UCU policy on supporting self-organised sex workers in their call for decriminalisation of sex work and improved safety; and information about the campaign by the English Collective of Prostitutes and NUS who are calling for a clear policy on student sex workers in universities and colleges.

Sex workers and education briefing [161kb]   Sex workers and education briefing [90kb]

Equality toolkit - a resource for UCU equality reps and regional equality officers

This is guide designed for UCU equality officers. It contains plenty of useful information and links around equality legislation, how to campaign for equality and and how to link in with UCU's work. If you require a hard copy, contact

UCU Equality Toolkit [892kb]

Stephen Lawrence fund

The TUC is calling on trade unions and trade unionists to help protect the legacy of Stephen Lawrence by giving generously to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust fund raising appeal to ensure that the vital work of the Trust continues and that Stephen's legacy lives on.

You can donate online by visiting or by text message. Text TUCS99 followed by the £ symbol, then the amount to 70070.

They receive a text message receipt, and the chance to add Gift Aid (by filling in a web form or by text message). JustTextGiving is free for you the sponsor and the charity you're supporting.

Stephen Lawrence Fund [83kb]       Stephen Lawrence Fund [24kb]

At UCU's annual Congress 2016, the following motion was passed:

Say her name: Justice for Sarah Reed

Congress condemns the tragic death this year of Sarah Reed. Sarah, a young black woman, developed mental health issues after having to transport her dead baby in a taxi and was later assaulted by a police officer. At the time of her death she was severely ill but held in custody rather than psychiatric care, where she reportedly killed herself.  Sarah's death is not isolated but one of a series of incidents in which black people are harmed or killed by the authorities. We call on the union to:

  1. affiliate with and provide financial and practical support to the Justice for Sarah campaign
  2. act as radical educators by raising noise about this incident and the pattern of racist and misogynistic institutionalised abuse it falls into in our institutions
  3. call branch and regional meetings to organise around this issue, and invite speakers from the campaign to these meetings.

The following is an abridged version of the speech given to Congress by Rhiannon Lockley in moving the above motion.

'Wednesday 22nd June would have been Sarah Reed's 33rd birthday.

Sarah Reed was a young, black, mentally ill woman. She died in prison earlier this year.

Sarah Reed was a mother. After the death of her child in 2003 Sarah was left by a hospice to carry her baby's body across town in a taxi, wrapped in a sheet, to the undertaker. She never really recovered from this and from then on struggled with severe mental health issues.

In 2012 a police officer was caught on CCTV carrying out a violent assault on Sarah. He was filmed yanking her by the hair, dragging her across the floor, pressing on her neck and punching her several times in the head. He received 150 hours community service.

Following this brutal attack by a police officer Sarah's mental health deteriorated further. While under section she was arrested for what she stated was self-defense against a sexual assault. The decision was taken for her to be incarcerated, in spite of her severe mental health issues, in Holloway prison.

It was not the right place for a very poorly young woman who in her 30s would climb in her mother's bed for comfort at night.

Earlier this year she was found dead in her cell. Her family were initially told that she was found hanging, then that she had strangled herself.'

Please join the day of action to mark Sarah's birthday. You can do this by finding and sharing information about Sarah's case, and by posting solidarity photographs and or videos. The hashtags to use are ‪#‎SayHerName ‪#‎JusticeForSarahReed and ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter. You can read Sarah's mother's story of what happened to her daughter here.

Last updated: 26 May 2021