Amanda Williams (University of East Anglia)

Woman

Election address

Having trained as a chartered accountant I have spent most of my professional life employed in private, non-unionised organisations, but nonetheless I have been in a union since 2003.  I joined UCU when I started working at UEA in 2012/13. By 2013/14 I had become branch Treasurer thinking that would be a suitable job for an accountant. Since then I've discovered hidden talents, helping to organise pickets, being involved in redundancy negotiations, handling individual case work, and ultimately leading the UEA branch.  I have been President of the branch since October 2014.

The recent pensions dispute was a tough time for the branch; we faced the threat of 100% pay deductions. I would not describe us as a particularly militant branch but nonetheless we obtained a mandate for local strike action.  Working with committee colleagues we have arrived at a point where we have practically a full committee and a strong and growing network of caseworkers and reps.  I have attended regional committee meetings and two national Congresses. 

I joined the union because I think that it is the only effective way to counter the bargaining power of a large employer.  I got more involved in the union because of a growing sense of frustration and unfairness.  The argument that universities need to be more like businesses is often made to justify unpalatable changes.  If universities truly wanted to be more like businesses they would be looking to enlightened modern business practices rather than outdated practices from the last century.  What that means is properly appreciating all the people who work within the organisation and creating an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.  It requires that we have a sense of job security and a fair wage.  It requires that we are trusted to do our jobs but not expected to meet the demands of unreasonable workloads.  It requires that we feel confident about our futures in retirement.

My aspirations for the union are:

  • That it listens to the diverse voices of its membership.
  • That the union's collective voice is heard by employers and government.
  • That it fights for an educational landscape that genuinely provides fair access to education and to university careers.

My professional background has given me a broad range of skills and a variety of perspectives that I think would complement and strengthen the overall representation of members on NEC.  I am not aligned to any specific union groupings.

I work as an accounting lecturer in Norwich Business School at the University of East Anglia

Last updated: 1 February 2016