The ballot papers for the general secretary and national executive positions in the University and College Union (UCU) are due to be sent out next week. The ballot runs from 7 February to 7 March.
Speaking at the recent London launch of his election campaign Roger Kline, candidate for general secretary said, 'I want UCU to be a strong, democratic union that the members know will support them.
'We have to fight on issues such as hourly paid lecturers and attacks on our members terms and conditions. But we also need to have a clear vision about the future of education.
'Another candidate, Sally Hunt, likes to say members first, politics second – but the issues facing our members are political. Issues such as war and racism are trade union issues.
'It's not just how much money was spent on war instead of education and health, but how many Iraqi students and lecturers have died because of the war in Iraq?
'This election will decide what kind of union UCU will be. And it has the possibility to be a very strong union indeed.'
At the hustings so far it is the issue of last year's pay dispute that shows the differences between the candidates.
Sally Hunt insists that the deal reached was the best that lecturers could hope for, while Roger Kline argues that action should not have been called off until members were consulted.
Now a TUC sponsored report by the Union Ideas Network has spelt out how members feel about the deal for the first time. Many of its findings correspond to the line that Roger Kline and members of the UCU Left have put forward (for the full Driven By Distraction report go to www.uin.org.uk).
The campaign to fight the government plans to cut Esol provision is gathering pace, in the run up to a lobby of parliament on February.
It is vital that UCU members use this week to discuss issues around the elections and the importance of a strong left presence in the union.
For a list of UCU Left supported candidates and election material go to www.uculeft.org