Hundreds of academics from across Britain have signed a statement backing Jo McNeill for vice president of the UCU union.
They include current UCU vice president Nita Sanghera. Jo is part of the UCU Left in the union, which Socialist Worker supports.
The statement says, “We need a union leadership that is up to the task, that won’t retreat, waver or wobble.
“That is why we are supporting Jo McNeill.”
It says Jo is “the best candidate to forge a fighting union that encourages ordinary rank and file members to organise and lead”.
Jo is standing so that the voices of union members “are not just heard but are listened to”. She said she will focus on fighting education funding cuts if elected.
Jo has spoken at several hustings as part of her campaign.
Union branches that haven’t already held meetings, should organise them and invite Jo to speak.
UCU Left is also backing Paul Anderson for honorary treasurer and a number of candidates for the union’s national executive committee.
Voting ends on 1 March.
UCU union members in higher education are balloting for strikes over pay and conditions. The ballot involves around 70,000 workers across 143 universities.
Workers want more than a below-inflation 2 percent pay offer. And they want universities to take action on the gender pay gap, insecure contracts and workloads.
The UCU said over
80 percent of members have reported rises in their workloads over the last two years.
And the gender pay gap is stuck at over 10 percent.
Activists need to push to get the vote out in order to beat the Tories’ 50 percent turnout threshold.
The ballot ends on Friday of next week.
The UCU union suspended two days of planned strikes at Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University last week for talks.
The move followed a one-day strike on Thursday of last week.
Workers are in dispute over threatened compulsory redundancies. They had planned to strike on Monday and Wednesday of this week.
The Unison union also suspended planned strikes after bosses said they would make savings without compulsory redundancies.
The union said the redundancies had threatened around 35 jobs, or 7 percent of the university’s total workforce.
Some 64 percent of UCU members who voted backed strikes on a turnout of 72 percent.
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