Janet Farrar (Bury College)

Election address

I am seeking election to the Further Education Northwest seat of UCU NEC because as UCU Branch Chair of Bury College, I have vast first-hand experience of the brutal effects of Tory "austerity" (cuts!) and creeping managerialism on the FE sector. I want to do everything I can to support UCU and its members as a whole and stand for education and access for all.

As Branch Chair, I have grown membership considerably and expanded the Branch Committee by recruiting Reps. In the recent campaign to Get The Vote Out, we exceeded the 50% threshold, due to hard work, dedication and face-to-face contact with members. I have a very strong sense of justice and have represented members at investigations, disciplinaries, appeals and grievance hearings. I also successfully led our UCU branch in resistance to an inappropriate merger with a local university proposed through the Area Review process.

I've been a proud trade unionist since I started work at 16, joining UCU when I retrained as a Modern Foreign Languages lecturer. I am also a committed member and activist in the Labour Party. I was a beneficiary of Labour's Widening Participation initiative, and it frustrates me that people from ordinary backgrounds like mine will find FE increasingly hostile to them unless we unite to defend the broad scope of FE provision. We must fight to preserve funding for apprenticeships, Access, vocational courses, and A-Levels.

I believe that UCU's FE priorities should be:

·      Pay—The whole sector is crying out for better pay. The disparity between the salaries of principals and senior managers compared to lecturers is embarrassing. I am committed to building on the National Pay Plus campaign, serious negotiation, underpinned by industrial action when necessary and constructive.

·      Morale — At an all-time low. Workloads are unsustainable; staff are leaving in droves. I will campaign for improved, secure conditions of employment for all members, and a better work-life balance for FE staff.

·      De-Professionalisation — I will campaign strongly against job insecurity, exploitation and precarious low-paid contracts which are increasingly the norm in FE.

·      Recruitment— Mobilising members, reps, and those not on lecturers' conditions but undertaking curriculum delivery by showing ordinary Union members that their concerns are valuable and worth acting on. UCU also needs to celebrate and publicise its successes more.

I am committed to bringing all members together and promoting unity within UCU: in-fighting will get us nowhere. I believe passionately in equality and diversity, and think it's outrageous that there is still a gender pay gap.

Voting for me is to choose a fresh face and a positive, constructive outlook. I will always be fierce and fearless in the defence of members' interests and trade union values.


Last updated: 1 February 2018