Ariane Bogain (Northumbria University)

Election address

I am a senior lecturer in Modern Foreign Languages at Northumbria University, where I have taught since 1997. I have been a departmental representative and an assistant branch secretary and I am currently the vice-chair of Northumbria University Branch. I have seen first hand the brutal climate we all face in higher education, with course closures aplenty, including my own, the fetishisation of crude KPIs such as NSS and REF results, transformed into tools to instil fear amongst staff, capability procedures on the rise, with staff at risk of being forced out of their jobs if they don't meet arbitrary targets, record-high stress levels and management teams eager to impose their visions at all costs.

I believe passionately in justice and equality for all union members. I am clear that UCU's priority is to work with and for members on jobs, pay, pensions, conditions of service, and inequalities. UCU has to combat the damaging policies confronting higher education, in particular casualisation and its rampant culture of zero-hour teaching contracts, the over-reliance on low-paid and easily abused graduate tutors, the constant attacks on our terms and conditions and the rising threat of private providers, as contained in the government's Green Paper on higher education. Our union has to tackle in a robust fashion the inequality facing women in Higher Education, namely the gender pay gap, the blatant gender imbalance in the higher echelon of management structures as well as at professorial levels. UCU has to be exemplary in its democratic organisation and needs to involve members at all levels, through wide-ranging forms of communication, including branch meetings, blogs, newsletters and local e-ballots on issues of major concern, so that the voice of every member can be heard, so that their views can be gauged and so that strong support can be mobilised to stand up to university managements. UCU must recruit members so that we speak with greater authority to our employers and reclaim universities as institutions of learning, where education and not profitability is the driver, where academic freedom is protected and not subjected to government control under the Prevent policy.

I would like to represent others in shaping this by serving on the NEC. I am not a member of any political party, and in my UCU work I focus on approaches that enable members to be protected. I know that UCU members hold different political views and am happy to work with anyone who strive to defend our hard-fought post-92 national contract, our pensions, our pay, our terms and conditions and to implement our equality agenda. In voting for me you would be supporting a candidate who puts the union and its members first.

Last updated: 1 February 2016