Sean Vernell (City and Islington College)

Election address

Biographical details, including service to the union
GCSE English lecturer at City and Islington College

Manifesto for Further Education 2007:
Further and Adult Education: responding to a new social and economic climate 2008
Defending the Welfare state - public services for all 2010.
Fight the anti-union laws - no to austerity Yes to workers organisation 2015
Shake the magic money tree -scrap the pay cap 2017

UCU positions:
BS CIC 2003 - 2007, Coordinating Secretary 2007-  
London Regional Council 2003-
LR NEC member 2007- 2014, 2016 -
VC FEC 2007- 2014, 2016 -
National negotiator 2007 -
UCU observer to NUT executive 2008-2011, 2015-16
Founder member of UCU Left 2007
NATFHE/UCU conference delegate 2005-2017
TUC delegate 2007-2014, 16, 17

Campaigning to reverse the attacks on FE.
Further and Adult education continues to be underfunded. Despite government proclamations about the importance of the sector no new money has been made available. Since 2010 one million adult learners' places have gone, lecturers have suffered a 21% pay cut and 15,000 jobs have disappeared. With these cuts we have seen our workloads spiral out of control.

But not all in the sector have suffered a decline in their living standards. As colleges have merged and super groups have been created a small minority of senior post holders continue to make a lucrative career out of FE. We have seen principal and CEO pay rise by 9%, reaching salaries of hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, whilst we have seen our wages cut by £9000.

This is why the UCU nationally coordinated campaign over pay and conditions is central to our ability to reverse the spiral of attacks.

Predictably, with mergers, the curriculum has narrowed further. This is why I initiated a themed learning week around the issue of '#weareallimmigrants'. Hundreds of staff and students across the capital got involved in an inspiring week.

The week was not only an attempt to challenge the negative perceptions of migrants but also to challenge the compartmentalisation of education and develop a contextualised curriculum. I believe that the union must attempt more initiatives like this.

I have been a member of UCU London Region for seventeen years and have, again working with colleagues in the region, helped to build the coordinated pay and conditions campaign as well as initiate the Capital Contract for all campaign. 

The union's resources must be used to defeat the government and employers attacks.  We need stronger campaigning branches and national action to defeat the government's austerity agenda. 

I will seek to ensure the union campaigns nationally for:

·      Increased funding for F/A education.

·      Permanent contracts for HPLs.

·      A workload agreement.

·      A pay rise that makes up for the many years of lost earnings.


Last updated: 1 February 2018