All out for USS

Lee Short (Barnsley College)

Election address

I am the Level 1 & 2 Course Leader and Tutorial Team Leader for Art & Design at Barnsley College where I have been the UCU Branch Secretary since 2011.

I have been an active member of UCU (formerly NATFHE) since becoming a lecturer in 2004, starting out as a branch committee member and representative.

  • I was elected to the NEC in 2014
  • I have represented the NEC and my branch at UCU Congress and FE Sector Conference
  • I am a Vice-Chair of the Yorkshire and Humberside region FE Committee
  • I am branch delegate to Barnsley TUC

Defending Further Education

  • Since 2010 FE staff have faced an unprecedented attack from a government determined to destroy the public sector; using austerity as a lever for cutting jobs, driving down pay and conditions, and driving up workloads.
  • From the withdrawal of EMA to the 24% cut to Adult Funding, the opportunities of the poorest and most vulnerable within our communities have been eroded by acts of wilful vandalism.
  • The announcement that FE funding is protected for the next 4 years is welcome but it is not enough. It is shameful that there are 700,000 16-24 year olds without education, training or employment; and 15% of 16 to 65 year olds have no qualifications whatsoever. Likewise falling pay and the lack of parity with school teachers is symbolic of the government's understanding of the job we do in FE.
  • The current Area Reviews present an existentialist crisis for FE and a huge challenge for UCU. I pledge to use my remaining time on the NEC (and further term if elected) to help develop a coherent strategy, and argue for the strongest possible response to any job cuts and loss of provision that the reviews look likely to trigger.

Uniting to Win
As a UCU Left supporter, I believe that solidarity is crucial for building confidence.

I know first-hand the impact of solidarity in supporting strikers in my own branch to fight back against attacks on contracts, and I am proud that my branch has supported those in dispute across UCU and the wider TU movement. Solidarity will be key to a union-wide response to the anti-TU laws.

Why vote for me?
I joined UCU because of its active campaigning to defend members' jobs, pay and conditions, and to be part of the fight for access to wide-ranging, high quality education and training for all.

If elected I will continue to:

  • Argue for and support strategies aimed at fighting back not sitting tight
  • Work to ensure that the NEC is responsive and accountable to the membership
  • Report back from NEC meetings
  • Make myself available to speak at meetings and in branches where possible
Last updated: 1 February 2016