All out for USS

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

Ariane Bogain (Northumbria University)

Election address

I am a senior lecturer in French and Politics at Northumbria University, where I have taught since 1997. I have been a departmental representative and an assistant branch secretary, I am currently the vice-chair of my Branch and it has been my utmost privilege to represent women members on the NEC for the past year and a half.

I have experienced the brutal climate we all face in Higher Education, with course closures aplenty, including my own, the fetishisation of crude KPIs, transformed into tools to instil fear, capability procedures on the rise, arbitrary targets, record-high stress levels, and management teams eager to impose their visions at all costs.

I believe passionately in justice and equality. 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 low-paid zero-hour contracts, the constant attacks on our terms and conditions, the rising threat of private providers, and the lack of dignity at work through being reduced to a mere unit of labour. Our Union has to tackle in a robust fashion the inequalities facing women in Higher Education, namely the gender pay gap, the deep-rooted structural barriers to promotion, the number of women being disproportionally employed on casual contracts, the blatant gender imbalance in the higher echelon of management structures as well as at professorial levels. Our Union has to be at the forefront in the fight against all forms of violence against women. Our Union needs to help us reclaim our universities as institutions of learning, where education and not profitability is the driver, where academic freedom is protected, where inequality is actively tackled and not ignored or reduced to the last item of any agenda. Equality has to be at the forefront of the agenda of our Union and we need to involve members at all levels, so that the voice of every member can be heard,  and so that strong support can be mobilised to fight for equality and to stand up to university managements.

I would like to represent others in shaping this fight by serving on the NEC. I am not a member of any political party, and 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 2018