Dr Sue Abbott (Newcastle University)

Election address

Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University since September 2016

Trade Union service

•   Member of UCU Committee

•   Previously Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University since 2005 where I was UCU Equality Officer for 10 years

•   I have experience of both pre-92 and post-92 Universities

•   Elected on NEC in 2014

•   Currently Chair of the Women Members Standing Committee (WMSC) since September 2016 (and previously during 2014/15)

•   Northern Region Equality Officer for many years. I organised an anti-bullying event and set up an equality newsletter

•   Chaired national WMSC Conferences 2014/2016/2017

•   UCU delegation leader to Women's TUC 2014/2016/2017

•   Organised a variety of equality events such as events for Black History month, LGBT History month and for Holocaust Memorial day including bringing the Anne Frank exhibition to the North East in 2007

•   Member of Show Racism the Red Card committee for 15 years and involved in many anti-racist activities

•   Elected on the UCU National Commission on industrial action 2017-2018

•   Congress delegate

•   UNISON rep and branch officer in local government prior to joining academia


Election address
Never have we had such a time where sexism has been at the focus in organisations and in the media. The big issues that we need to tackle in HE are the gender pay gap and eradicating sexual harassment. I have regularly raised these issues in HEC, NEC and branch meetings. I am extremely concerned about issues of casualization and increasing workloads. These are areas we must urgently address.

I have real concerns about 'lad culture' and believe we must work with the NUS and 1752 group to stop this behaviour. I organised the first academic conference in the North East in April 2015 to tackle 'lad culture'.

Racism, islamophobia, homophobia and disability discrimination need examining in the HE sector as an urgent matter. These areas are all priorities for UCU in the foreseeable future.

I voted against acceptance of a derisory pay offer that means that our members face real terms pay cuts, taking inflation into account. I strongly believe we must defend the USS defined benefits pension against attacks by the employer. The indicative ballot has shown that UCU members back taking action on this matter. This is a crucial area and unless we oppose changes it will have an adverse effect on women members in particular.

I have been involved in campaigns to tackle anti trade union legislation and the fight against austerity, homelessness and poverty. I am a supporter of UCU left and back Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour party. This gives us hope for the future.

I ask you to re-elect me so my experience and commitment to women and work will make a real difference.

Last updated: 1 February 2018