Update from Sally Hunt

Message for all UCU members.

I want to let you know about what happened at UCU's recent Congress and also about our plans for the year ahead.

The union's priorities are clear: pensions; workload; job security; pay and public funding.

But these are just words, and mask the human impact on many of you of longer hours and more intensive work; the failure of salaries and pensions to keep pace with inflation; the fear of being made redundant; and the worry that falling government support may lead to course closures or loss of research income.

In these circumstances, our union must step up to the mark. In July, your newly elected National Executive Committee (NEC) will meet to discuss our strategy, guided of course by the decisions of UCU's Congress.

I intend to work closely with the NEC and the five nationally elected officers on a positive and realistic programme which can garner support from branches and members across the union. I will write with more details following the NEC.

I also want to mention the debate on UCU's own structures which took place at Congress.

As has been reported in the media, while in the recent ballot 80% of members voted for reforms such as a smaller NEC with savings spent on increased branch support, 80% of delegates to Congress voted to 'set aside' the ballot and reject the plans.

Instead, Congress voted to elect a Commission from among its own delegates to examine the issue further and report back in a year's time. I am personally disappointed with this delay, but of course I will engage fully with the Commission as I hope will all branches and members.

I continue to believe that the key to success for UCU is to increase your participation in the union.

Therefore as we face what will by any standards be a challenging period, I hope you will consider getting more involved in the union locally, and that nationally we can continue to rely on your support.

I am always interested in your views so feel free to contact me.

Sally Hunt
UCU General Secretary

Further reading:
Decisions of Congress: http://www.ucu.org.uk/congress12
My speech to Congress: http://www.ucu.org.uk/congress12_GS

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UCU is the largest trade union and professional association for academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff working in further and higher education throughout the UK.

Visit the national site at  http://www.ucu.org.uk/