All out for USS

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

Ioanna Ioannou (University College London)

woman

Election address

Senior Research Associate at University College London

Branch Member committee at UCL: since 2012

UCU NEC member for London and the East: 1 term

UCU LGBT Members' Standing Committee: 2016-2017

UCU Delegate to TUC LGBT Conference: 2017

UCU Left Member

The marketization of higher education is accompanied by the increase in student fees, universities competing for high fee-paying students and a conscious holding down of our pay, with our USS pensions threatened. At the same time, we face ever-increasing workloads and loss of our job security. This model of education does not meet our needs, our students' needs or society's needs.

Since 2011, I have been working as a researcher at UCL. Recently, I lost track of the number of successive and very short-term contracts I have been working on.  Like most researchers, I live in constant fear that my luck will run out. What does future hold for researchers? In a university which expands rapidly in pursuit of new customers (students), our contribution seems to go unacknowledged despite our hard work and sacrifices. To make matters worse, as an EU citizen I still don't know what my status or that of my family will be after UK leaves the EU.

Never before was the need for a strong fighting union so pressing. As a union we can and must resist this onslaught, and fight for a real university: one which provides a public service and acknowledges that education is a right and not a privilege. As a branch committee member and UCU Left supporter, I defend education by fighting for better terms and conditions fighting for the right of immigrants, whether from the EU or beyond, to live and work here. The crucial battle over the next period will be the fight to save the USS scheme and to push back the wave of racism from our workplaces.

Defending research means that we need a fighting union which will defend researchers and put an end to the stressful treadmill of fixed-term contracts. It means defending academic freedom and independent publicly-funded science. If elected, I will fight:

  • For better work terms and conditions for researchers and other staff.

  • To defend freedom of movement for labour.

  • For a decent defined benefit pension for all.

  • For an end to the misery of fixed-term contracts.    

  • For rank and file democracy in our union.

  • For a strong, fighting union.

Last updated: 1 February 2018