All out for USS

Allister Mactaggart (Chesterfield College)

Election address

I am a lecturer in art and design at Chesterfield College where I have been employed since 1997.

I have taken an active role in UCU/NATFHE throughout my teaching career and I currently hold the position of Branch Chair. I am active at a regional level and I have attended annual Congress on several occasions putting forward motions and amendments from our branch and regional committee.

I am also very active in casework in our branches seeking to defend members against the ever increasing demands put upon us, as well as broadening these issues out into the wider political sphere. I have led a long campaign in respect of lesson observations which has resulted in a new non-graded observation policy with the link to capability being removed.

I am a firm advocate of further education and its role in our communities to provide much-needed educational opportunities for young students and adults. The attacks against our sector are now reaching a critical point with the government's post-16 review of education and training institutions. Having starved colleges of adequate funding for years, the government now seeks to use the weakened positions many colleges find themselves in as a way of seeking to push through mergers and rationalisation, all of which will only make the situation worse for staff, students and our communities.

The government's desire for 'super colleges' runs against the needs of our communities, and I believe that UCU's briefing on 'Resisting cuts and rationalisation' offers cogent arguments against the government's approach, but also provides alternative education proposals which would put students and their communities at its heart. As a UCU left supporter, I will seek to defend FE against these attacks and to use our best efforts to put forward a positive alternative.

At special sector conferences I have argued that we need to be pro-active and not defensive. We should be proud of what we do in our communities. As lecturers in FE we have an acute knowledge about how government policy adversely affects us, our students and our communities. We also know what is required to provide the education our students and communities deserve, as opposed to the restrictive vision of a two-tier education system the present government wishes to impose upon us.

If elected, I will campaign for:

  • secure contracts for all staff against the increasing use of 'non-lecturer' roles in further education teaching and assessing teams;
  • £1 per hour extra for all;
  • Against the scapegoating of migrants;
  • The defence of post-16 education against cuts and rationalisation, working, where possible, with other public sector unions;
  • The rights of Trade Unions to defend their members against the unnecessary and pernicious Trade Union legislation.


Last updated: 1 February 2016