Report by GUCU delegate and GUCU President Marian Carty
The election of Jo Grady, in a record turnout, as UCU’s new General Secretary heralds the beginning of a new era for the union. with members resolved to fight the attacks on Prison, Adult, Further and Higher Education.
We have seen transformative and unprecedented resistance in both further and higher education over the past two years. The campaign in Further Education for better pay and conditions continues with strikes taking place throughout the country,resulting in a number of significant victories. There can be no let up as more and more colleagues are at risk of redundancy, and colleges, such as Stourbridge College are threatened with imminent closure due to asset stripping employers’ incompetence.
The debates at this year’s congress showed that members are united in their resolve to mount campaigns to fight the privatisation and commodification of tertiary education in all the nations of the UK.
There is so much to do. Continued threats to the USS pensions and renewed attacks on TPS, will mean stepping up pensions action in higher education. This includes GTVO for a USS strike ballot next term, should the employers persist with their intention to raise our pension contributions again in October.
Congress voted decisively for BAME and gender pay gaps to be addressed in this climate that sees increasing far right narratives coming to the fore. This must be accompanied with resolute and imaginative campaigns to fight the curse of increasing casualisation of education, redundancies and excessive workload. Our refusal to go along with employers efforts to worsen our pay and conditions in preparation for further privatisation of our sectors, is crucial if we are to defend public education for future generations of students and university workers.
Jo Grady ended her speech with these words ‘…we are one union now, from professional services staff to prison educators, from the regions and nations to Carlow Street. We are the people who will stand up for tertiary education and research in this country, and we have each other’s backs.’