Support colleagues fighting back in FE!

Members in HE: please use your vote!

Carol Cody (City of Liverpool College)

Election address

I currently teach English at City of Liverpool College having worked here for the past ten years. Since becoming a rep in UCU I have taken on a number of roles, including Branch treasurer and Equality rep, I am at present Committee Secretary, a role I have inhabited for the last three years, I am also UCU North-West Women's Equality Rep, and I have a seat on the Women's Standing Committee.

In my time as a union rep I have seen the steady deterioration of terms and conditions, matched by an increase in workload and cut after cut in funding to the sector, as well as a sustained cut in pay, one that is unlikely to be compensated for by the recent and pitiful 1% pay offer by the AOC. These factors continue to affect members creating insecurity in an already uncertain environment for teachers and trainers across the FE sector. Casualisation, mergers and the increasing victimisation of members and reps have all impacted on the sector, creating uncertainty and leaving members vulnerable to a gamut of issues affecting their health and mental wellbeing. Disparity in pay within the sector, gender pay differences, inequalities with race and disability are all issues that stem from the rot that is at the core of this government's ideological assault on public services, including the FE Sector. Unfortunately, these are issues that disproportionately affect women, women who are carers, women who look after families, women who are on part time and casualised contracts; they create poverty and are responsible for higher rates of mental health issues in women too.

As Women's North-West Officer, I was involved in creating a Network day in which members from around the region could meet and discuss a range of topics about equality, I have also been involved, at a regional level, in a campaign against the victimisation of Union reps, a campaign which resulted in two motions at Congress which I addressed.

The continued dismantling of conditions in FE is something that we all need to battle against, but it takes place within a wider context in which women's and minority rights are still an arena for struggle: sexual harassment, hate crimes against the disabled etc. As an NEC member for FE in the North West I will guarantee that these issues in FE have a voice at National level and I will work to ensure that voice remains heard.

Last updated: 1 February 2018