All out for USS

Rhiannon Lockley (Halesowen College)

Election address

Lecturer, social sciences (Access), Halesowen College

We are facing huge challenges in FE. The FE review will lead to mergers, job losses and course closures in a sector where the majority of staff and students are female, as well as having big effects across other equality strands. We need a union with strong equality structures and clear strategies to take on these challenges.

I have worked in adult education in FE for 10 years. I'm an experienced activist with a record of active campaigning and organising. I'm a branch secretary, West Midlands chair, and on the national Women Members' Standing Committee. In these roles I have:

  • Developed strong links between my branch and Women's Aid, including training and curriculum changes to promote education as a means of preventing domestic violence.
  • Successfully campaigned for better equalities union participation and representation, getting the support of Congress in challenging the decision to run different equality conferences simultaneously, and getting policy through for regions to have specific equality-strand officers (e.g. women members etc.). I am proud of the work West Midlands region have been doing on this. I'm a part time worker with young children. We need solutions for the barriers that often prevent members like me getting active in the union.
  • Focused on sustainability and growth, building links with student and youth activist groups locally and nationally. I have been pleased to contribute at UK Feminista and NCAFC events, where I have promoted trades unions and encouraged young people to get involved.
  • Campaigned energetically on issues including adult education, EMA, bedroom tax, targeting of the Midlands by groups such as the EDL, abortion rights, domestic violence service cuts, and the TUbill. Most recently I have been organising around the FE review in Birmingham, including lobbying the AOC conference in Birmingham to call on Nick Boles for properly funded FE in advance of the spending review.

I believe in the politics of hope. I support the UCU left in the same way that I am a member of the Red Labour organising group within the Labour party which worked for the candidacy of Jeremy Corbyn: I believe success comes from the politics of positive action. We are one union and one labour movement and we all need to work together. Encouraging pessimism and suggesting members keep their heads down and hope for better times later will further the erosion of our rights. Instead, I will focus on growing our activists and working on strategies to defend our members and defend colleges.

Vote for me and vote for a union with strong equality structures and positive strategies to defend education.

Last updated: 1 February 2016