Vicky Knight (The Manchester College)

Election address

Vicky Knight, an Independent candidate - putting members first

I am a Trade Union Studies lecturer at the Manchester College and a lifelong trade unionist, believing that; in the face of relentless government and employer attacks on further and higher education, our unity is our strength.

It is for this reason that I believe our union, funded by members for members, must use democratic structures to represent the needs and aspirations of all, working in all roles across our institutions - and not be used as a vehicle to progress the agendas of any external political organisation or grouping.

This Government's ideological agenda is clearly hurting  everyone in our communities:  as workers and educators we are continually doing more for less, in increasingly stressful environments - overworked, underpaid, our workplace rights eroded, increasingly precarious in terms of job security, our professionalism undermined, terms and conditions constantly under attack with Privatisation looming.

We also face the (anti) Trade Union bill, designed to subvert our right to strike, congregate and demonstrate:  all fundamental trade union and workers' rights.

We must maintain at all costs the right to withdraw our labour, which I believe UCU members never do lightly.  Our strength is our democracy, our collective ability to negotiate and exhaust political alternatives first

In order to achieve that, I believe that a vital objective and focus of the union should be to strengthen branches, the absolute foundation of our membership, increasing our numbers and empowering us to use our collective bargaining and negotiation skills to improve members' lives.

I have more than 25 years' trade union experience in the public sector: within the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and UCU as a local, regional and national representative.  I am an elected member of your national negotiating team and sit on your National Executive Committee, Further Education Committee, Equality and Women's Committees.

I have the honour of representing UCU at numerous events, on committees and platforms including; UCU Congress, TUC Congress, TUC Women's conference, TUC Northwest Regional Conference.  For the last 3 years I have represented UCU on the TUC Women's Committee where I'm proud to have been elected as Chair for the last 2 years.

Throughout my years in the movement I have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to our trade union principles of; justice, equality of opportunities, fairness, inclusivity and a voice for all. 

I believe that my extensive experience in the trade union movement will enable me to make a significant contribution to the Presidential team and if elected, I pledge to use this opportunity to ensure that UCU is a strong, united union, dedicated to supporting our members in every aspect of their working lives.

Please use your vote.

Last updated: 1 February 2016