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Members in HE: please use your vote!

Dave Anderson (University of Glasgow)

academic related

Election address

I am an academic related IT specialist at the University of Glasgow.  I have been active in the branch since joining the university, and have performed several roles on the committee including membership secretary, academic-related co-ordinator, caseworker and branch president.  I am currently a caseworker as well as an elected staff representative on the university's governing body.

As a caseworker, I have seen first-hand the impact on UCU members of overtly managerial approaches to teaching and research.  A spurious focus on financial targets and performance management has increased workloads, stress and resultant ill-health.  Career development is stifled while casualisation can make it difficult for individuals to take a stand over discrimination and unfair treatment.  By collectivising issues where possible, and encouraging a broad range of members to become involved in campaigning it is possible to mount an effective defence.

At Glasgow I have been involved in a number of collective campaigns and have led successful negotiations with committee colleagues.  This has included a collective grievance over a new performance management scheme, a local dispute against job cuts (which resulted in a commitment to no compulsory redundancies) as well as forcing the university to remove zero hours contracts.

As a former UCU Scotland President I played a leading role in the campaign for improved governance in HE in Scotland, resulting in the introduction of legislation which (among other improvements) mandates trade union representation on governing bodies.  I have visited numerous branches and am continually overwhelmed by the dedication, resilience and commitment of UCU members and activists. 

The collective involvement of members is the lifeblood of UCU.  During my previous terms on NEC I have committed to reflect the issues faced by members. I have encouraged colleagues to work together in campaigning effectively in the defence of members interests.  I have also made it a priority to highlight the positive role further and higher education should play in a progressive society.

I am aware of the challenges members face in participating in union activity and I want NEC to do more to facilitate the involvement of members.  This may be through local or regional networks, workplace meetings or online discussion.  By engaging with and involving members I believe UCU can maximise participation and make meaningful progress in the issues members face daily, including job security, workload, pay and pensions.

Last updated: 1 February 2018