Socialist Worker

NUS conference backs strikes against cuts

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2248

The National Union of Students (NUS) last week held its first national conference since the explosive student protests of November and December.

A decade of “modernisation” has weakened union democracy.

Conference is smaller, shorter, and can be overruled by unelected trustees.

This year that process was taken further with a motion to incorporate NUS as a registered company.

But now that the Labour Party is in opposition and a new generation of militant activists is finding its voice, the conference was also much more open to the left. NUS voted to support strikes against cuts, and demonstrations at the Tory and Liberal Democrat conferences.

Motions to call for free education and to support a general strike were narrowly defeated. Radical left candidate for president, Mark Bergfeld, won 20 percent of the vote.

The eventual winner, current president of NUS Scotland Liam Burns, stood on a platform of giving direct action activists more of a voice within the union. He has pledged to build another national demonstration.

Burns will need to be under constant scrutiny if he is to be held to his word. National Executive election results will be announced this week.

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Tue 19 Apr 2011, 17:53 BST
Issue No. 2248
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