Lecturers across Britain have received the ballot papers for the UCU general secretary and national executive positions this week. The ballot runs until 7 March, and lecturers need to keep campaigning throughout the election period.
Malcolm Povey, a lecturer at Leeds university who is standing for the UCU national executive, told Socialist Worker, “It is noticeable when you speak to people that there is a real feeling of them and us – the lines between managers and lecturers have been drawn.
“We must campaign for every vote for Roger Kline for general secretary and the UCU Left candidates for the executive. There is a danger that when people get the ballot papers – with the huge number of candidates on them – the process seems too complicated. We have to fight to get the vote out.”
Angela Shann, a lecturer at the University of Sheffield, is standing for the national executive. She said “We’ve got a really good team of lecturers in Sheffield university organising for the election. We have already put my leaflet into all of the lecturers’ pigeonholes, and have been speaking to lecturers.
“Tom Hickey, the UCU Left candidate for president, is coming to Sheffield on 22 and 23 February, and we will be taking him round to speak to lecturers at the university and the further education (FE) college. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“We will get the higher education UCU Left leaflet out to everyone over the next week. The reaction I have been getting has been really positive. Lecturers understand and want to take on issues like the creeping privatisation in our universities.”
In FE the government’s plans to cut funding for the teaching of English for Speakers of Other Languages (Esol) and adult education has acted as a focus for the campaign.
Alliya Stennett, a lecturer in Birmingham, is standing for the UCU national executive. She told Socialist Worker, “Lecturers are angry about the cuts, not just in Esol, but in adult education as a whole.
“There is a lobby of parliament soon, and we need to make sure that the numbers on it reflect the anger at the government’s plans.”
Sean Vernell is an UCU Left candidate in the London region. He said, “I have been meeting with branches across the region speaking about the London region’s further education manifesto that I helped to draw up.
“It is a template for what we want FE to be. What we, as a union, want the future of education to look like.”
It is vital that people spend the next three weeks talking to their colleagues and making sure that people vote.
For details of UCU Left candidates and the FE manifesto go to www.uculeft.org The defend Esol lobby of parliament is on Wednesday 28 February, go to www.ucu.org.uk for more information.