Socialist Worker

‘We need a stronger union’ say UCU Left candidates

Issue No. 2541

Left challenger Jo McNeill

Left challenger Jo McNeill

UCU Left candidates are fighting to win big votes in the lecturers’ union.

Elections for general secretary, vice president and various positions on the National Executive Committee end on 1 March.

Jo McNeill is challenging incumbent Sally Hunt for general secretary, while Carlo Morelli is standing for vice-president.

Carlo is the health and safety rep at Dundee university. He told Socialist Worker, “We need to have a real fight to defend pay and conditions.

“I believe that the UCU also has a role to play in a wider struggle for social justice and equality.”

Other UCU Left candidates for NEC positions include Mandy Brown, Ioanna Ioannou, Mark Able and Lesley Kane.

nUCU union members at Manchester Metropolitan University lobbied governors over cuts last Friday. Governors confirmed the closure of the university’s Crewe campus, in July 2019.

Bosses have refused to rule out compulsory redundancies for the 400 workers at the site.

UCU members at the Crewe and Manchester sites voted last month for the union to ballot for strikes if compulsory redundancies are threatened.

Around 180 parents, teachers and campaigners from across Hackney in east London met to discuss the Tories’ planned education cuts last Monday.

NUT union general secretary Kevin Courtney told the meeting that funding in the borough will be slashed by around £1,000 per pupil by 2020. Local NUT joint secretary Dave Davies pledged that the union would “fight for every job”.

The meeting agreed to join in a day of action on

25 February, and to organise a local march.

Scottish bosses don’t learn lesson

The Scottish FE college lecturers’ union, EIS Fela, has declared a new dispute.

It comes after talks with college bosses broke down last week over the agreement reached before last year’s Scottish parliament election.

Socialist Worker understands the union’s executive has called for a strike ballot.

EIS Fela president John Kelly said the union had hoped for “constructive” talks to deliver “all elements of the agreement” but instead got “obfuscation”.

He said, “We took industrial action before to achieve this pay agreement, and we are fully prepared to take industrial action again.”

The lecturers won a stunning victory last March after just one day of striking. They had also put political pressure on the Scottish National Party (SNP) government.

It has been six years since the SNP promised to return to national bargaining for colleges, but bosses are still trying to wriggle out of it.

A potential strike could fall just before the Scottish council elections in May—that will not be good news for the SNP.

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