All out for USS

It's not too late! Universities UK can still commit to meaningful negotiations over pensions and end the strike action.

Dr Jeff Fowler (University of Sunderland)

Election address

I am Senior Lecturer in Computing at Sunderland University.
Since 1991 I have been a departmental representative, have held various branch officer positions (currently Branch Secretary), and represented many members in Disciplinary, Grievance, Capability and Equality cases.
For 20+ years I have served on the union's Northern Region Committee.
I am currently on UCU's NEC (previously 1997-2008)
I have been National Negotiator elected by HE National Sector Conference
As a member of the NEC's Equality Committee I strongly believe national bodies of the union must continue to be representative of our diverse membership.

Campaigning Union
We need to learn lessons of UCU disputes over recent years. This means UCU needs to become a campaigning organising union that is led by, and delivers for, the members, doesn't shy away from organising and leading campaigns on pay and conditions, and is prepared to deliver effective industrial action when necessary. UCU's Commission for Effective Industrial Action will hopefully go some way in achieving these aims.

Pensions
The proposed changes to the USS pension scheme would have a devastating impact on pensions of members in pre-92 universities. In face of employer intransigence the only effective way to resist these changes is with continuing coordinated industrial action including strikes, and boycotting of assessments.

Pay
We need an effective strategy that will improve the pay of our members which has massively declined in recent years. This needs to include industrial action, working with other Public Sector unions challenging the government's public sector pay cap.

Workloading
We have to protect our members from ever-increasing workloads that damage us and our students.  The post-92 National Contract has to be strongly defended; similar safeguards are needed for pre-92 members.

Conditions
UCU needs to fight to improve members' working conditions, particularly for staff on casual contracts.

HE Sector Challenges
The quality of UK higher education continues to be diminished through government policy. The TEF could be exploited by university managements to single out and victimise members of staff who don't fit into their corporate agendas.

The Prevent Duty threatens to require UCU members to spy on our students and monitor their activities thereby seriously undermining our relationships with students that are built on mutual respect and trust.

These policies and detrimental consequences such as Performance Management have to be confronted and strongly resisted by UCU.

Accountability
The NEC must not be allowed to bypass the decisions of UCU's National Congress and Sector Conferences, the supreme decision-making bodies of our union.

If re-elected to the NEC I will continue to fully represent and be accountable to UCU members. I am particularly keen to ensure the HE Committee fully implements decisions of HE Sector Conference and the membership.

I support UCU Left.

Last updated: 1 February 2018