Michael Gove's 'itching militants' speech delivers best recruitment day in union's history
UCU sees surge in membership as education secretary delivered attack on striking teachers • Union launches live blogging site with updates on disruptions at universities and colleges
Record numbers of lecturers joined UCU yesterday as Michael Gove delivered an attack on unions, according to membership data analysed today.
Almost 300 people joined the union on Monday, which was more than joined during either of the first two weeks of the month. There has been a steady increase in union membership in November, but yesterday's spike was more than double the previous working day's total of 143. This time last year 33 people joined the union*.
UCU said the education minister was misguided to say educators want families to be inconvenienced by the strikes or that they want people to lose pay. The union said what its members, and the hundreds of thousands of public servants taking action on Wednesday, wanted was proper negotiations, not more government spin.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Despite being possibly the only minister to have stood on a picket line, Michael Gove is still symptomatic of this government's complete lack of understanding of trade unions and working people.
'Educators are far from mindless militants and to suggest they want to inconvenience anybody is incredibly insulting. They would rather be in the classroom than on the picket line tomorrow, but they will fight to save their pensions. They want proper negotiations to secure a resolution to the dispute and it is time for the government to deliver.
'Strike action will always be, quite rightly, a last resort and for Michael Gove or anyone in government to suggest otherwise exposes the contempt with which they hold hard-working public servants.'
The union has launched a live blogging which will detail disruption at universities and colleges due to the industrial action. You can also follow @ucu on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ucu for updates. An image of the graph showing the spike in members joining UCU is available from the press office.
Weekly breakdown of people joining UCU this month:
Date of Joining
31 Oct - 6 Nov 11
7 - 13 Nov 11
14 - 20 Nov 11
21 - 27 Nov 11
Daily breakdown of people joining UCU in the last week:
Date of Joining
* Just eight people joined the union on 28 November 2010, however it was a Sunday. On the comparable Monday (29 November 2010) 33 people joined UCU.