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Brian Hamilton (The Manchester College Prison Education)

Election address

I am currently employed as a tutor by Manchester College (NOVUS) delivering Functional Skills to Category C adult prisoners. I became a UCU workplace contact in 1993 moving on to become a local rep, then regional rep and I have just been re-elected to my current position as National Branch Chair for a second term.

I am standing for the NEC, firstly to raise the profile of the essential work our prison educator members do under often difficult and ill resourced conditions and, secondly, to bring the knowledge and experience gained through the organisation, representation and defence of these members to the work of the NEC.

During my 23 years as a trade unionist in Prison education, I have built up a wealth of experience by representing members individually and collectively through the trade union core business of disciplinary hearings, redundancies, exclusions, capability hearings, grievances, health & safety issues and contract disputes. I am currently involved in Job Evaluation and the standardisation of the many different contracts nationally

Nationally we continue to recruit, organise, represent and defend members in the face of

  • The constant re-tendering of prison education contracts where we are sold off and TUPED to our new employers every 5 years
  • Ever decreasing funding which affects our ability to give a quality service
  • The proliferation of temporary and casualised contracts
  • The difficulties inherent in being employed by over-large, funding driven and distant employers with little or no knowledge of what is necessary to support the effective delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum to students in prison.

If elected I will bring a realistic and not an idealistic approach to the present and imminent problems we face in Further Education.  I am an independent candidate who is fully aware that individual members want the resources they provide to the union via their subscriptions to be used to secure better education for our students and the best possible terms and conditions for themselves.  Strike action should only be used after all other alternatives have been exhausted

I believe that the survival of our profession is dependent upon a strong and proactive union which is member led and not led by any vocal minority who have their own political motivations. 

We have many challenges ahead in FE with the proposed formation of super colleges, existing colleges breaking up their structures into different business units, the race to secure new funding streams in a shrinking market and increasing legislative pressure which attacks our fundamental Trade Union rights.

UCU must face these challenges by utilising our main strength, unity through listening to members.

Last updated: 1 February 2016