All out for USS

It's not too late! Universities UK can still commit to meaningful negotiations over pensions and end the strike action.

Dr Victoria Showunmi (UCL Institute of Education)

Election address

I am pleased to be standing for election to one of the HE women's seats on our NEC, and seek the chance to make use of my enthusiasm for and experience of equality work within UCU. This includes representation of UCU at TUC congress, representing women at TUC women's conference and attending UCU equalities, women and BME conferences. As a Lecturer (fractional post) at the Institute of Education/UCL, my research and teaching on gender and leadership, and on young black women's experience of British education, has given me understanding of the importance of gender pay inequity and of the double detriment faced by women of colour, who all too often take disproportionately lower paid, lower status roles across the economy. My experience on NEC has enabled me to represent the voices of diverse women, including the most vulnerable and marginalized, across a range of UCU work, and to contribute towards making our union one which genuinely strives towards equality.

As concern with sexual harassment and violence gets sharper, and the April 2018 deadline for employer reporting on the gender pay gap approaches, it is vital that UCU continues to be at the forefront of work on these issues. We need to work closely with members to implement UCU policies on these issues, and to affirm the importance of interlinkages between different kinds of discrimination and unequal power whether gender, race, sexuality, disability, or insecure casual employment.

Beyond that I would focus on the following priorities: -

  • building understanding of and commitment to UCU policies among all UCU members not just enthusiastic activists;

  • focus on shared aims and concerns (equality and inclusiveness, decent pay and conditions, education as a public good ) rather than sectional agendas;

  • the need to support diversity while encouraging maximum unity among our members, progressing the particular interests of specific groups while also uniting to pursue common concerns about our jobs and workplaces

UCU members are facing tough times, whether the marketisation of HE, gender inequity, attacks on our pensions, or rising levels of stress, management pressure and workloads. We need careful planning and strong determination to ensure that all our members can join in making effective challenges to these problems. If elected I look forward to contributing to that work.

Last updated: 1 February 2018