Pura Ariza (Manchester Metropolitan University)


Election address

UCU service:

2010 - present: Branch Secretary, Manchester Metropolitan University
2012- present: UCU NW Regional Secretary
2009 - present: UCU LGBT Members' Standing Committee

I have been a senior lecturer in Education at Manchester Metropolitan University for over 10 years, working with trainee teachers. I was previously a schoolteacher.  I am profoundly aware of the importance of education for children, for our students and for society. Attacks on education at all levels epitomise the political agenda at the heart of the Tories' austerity programme. In HE we can see how marketisation and corporatisation are promoting 'branding' of universities: our students are treated as customers to be satisfied, rather than as collaborators in education. At the same time, our contributions are subjected to X-factor satisfaction ratings and our relationships with students are corrupted. Now the HE Green Paper seeks to drive down this marketised model, linking student ratings to fees and further increasing student debt.  I am standing for the NEC because I want to build a union which puts the defence of education at the heart of all its campaigns - pensions, pay, jobs, workload, casualisation, equality, provision etc. If elected, I will promote working with students and other unions in joint campaigns to vigorously defend all aspects of post-16 education.

I have been a branch officer for over 10 years, more recently branch secretary and NW Regional Secretary.  I have been instrumental in ensuring these structures are used to bring members together to develop campaigns and strategies. I have worked especially hard to develop grassroots networks and democracy. If elected, I will support strong UCU campaigns which empower members to campaign together, putting them at the centre of UCU strategy and decisions.  I will support working with our sister unions, for example to campaign against the Trade Union Bill.

Equality has always been at the centre of my trade union activity.  I am concerned to see how universities enlist 'equality' for their advertising, while in reality equality is a hidden casualty of marketisation. UCU must keep equality high on the agenda, and if elected I will campaign for equality to be part of all UCU industrial strategies as well as campaigns.

We cannot build an education for tomorrow out of decimated pensions, historic pay cuts, deprofessionalisation, casualisation and managerialist control. It is clear that all these attacks are part of the 'softening up' process to prepare for a for-profit privatised system. I believe we need to build broad campaigns which unite members from different areas in a robust defence of terms and conditions. This is the foundation for education for the future.

I am a member of UCU Left and will be attending the Second Convention for HE (www.heconvention2.wordpress.com).

Last updated: 1 February 2016