Support colleagues fighting back in FE!

Members in HE: please use your vote!

Rob Goodfellow (Hull College)

Election address

During my employment as a lecturer in Computing at Hull College I have served as a member of UCU's Branch Committee (latterly as lead negotiator and lead caseworker) organising & fighting to ensure members remained in employment, that pay and conditions were protected and all members were well represented and defended as necessary.

As the most recent Further Education President, I have been able to develop a thorough and extensive picture of the national situation in FE.

This experience tells me that most of our members want a supportive and effective place to work in.

They want to focus on providing a good, free, comprehensive, education service and receive proper professional recognition, good working conditions and decent wages for doing it.

The main role of our union should be to work to achieve this and we should not get side tracked into issues and actions which divide us.

In the Northern Region and Yorkshire & Humberside, this means

  • recruiting, organising and representing members in every UCU branch including targeted support for branches with less than 100 members;

  • building on and developing our effective bargaining strategy which clearly links Pay claims to local priority issues such as performance related pay, punitive observations schemes, workload, the mis-use of non-lecturing roles and the increasing use of casualised contracts;

  • using strike action (only) as part of a considered strategy of organisation, communication and negotiation to achieve a clear objective;

  • making good use of UCU's 'Get The Vote Out' plans to organise, energise and motivate members We really do need to focus on positioning members to be able to continue to effectively organise in the workplace;

  • exposing and challenging the damage that inappropriate college mergers could do to accessible local provision, jobs and working conditions whilst preparing members to bargain effectively to minimise the adverse impacts;

  • supporting all colleges receiving financial intervention from the FE Commissioner.

I believe that we must ensure that we

  • put members' interests first and allow every voice to be heard;

  • increase member participation in branch activity;

  • ensure branches make good use of the bullying and harassment guide, equality reps tool kit and the protections of Health and Safety legislation;

  • campaign to halt the damage done to educational provision and the work-life balance of members through cutting jobs and working conditions;

  • fight against the cuts undermining further education and its role in providing the skills necessary to rebuild local economies;

UCU should therefore focus its priorities and resources on building membership, supporting members and building branches. This will give members the confidence to stand up to the massive challenges we face and ensure that we are effective united and strong.


Last updated: 1 February 2018