Tuesday, 25 January 2011

UCU Left Statement - We are in the Fight of our Lives

The UCU Left is a national organisation of University and College Union activists. It is committed to ensuring that the new union has a democratic structure through which members can determine policy, and elected officers and professional officials can be held accountable. It seeks to defend educational equality, and to oppose the consequences of neo-liberal marketisation. It is opposed to all forms of racism, sexism, oppression and imperialism.
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UCU Left Statement - We are in the Fight of our Lives


A Strategy to Defeat the Cuts
Defend Education - Time to Fightback

Some of the over 1,000 school, FE, and university students demonstrating in support of EMA in London on 19/01/2011

The student protest movement has shown that there is now a real potential to roll back the huge assault on workers and the most vulnerable that the Con-Dem coalition has unleashed. The protests before Xmas inspired millions and have helped create a new confidence to fight back.

Over the next couple of months we in UCU, alongside our students and other workers, can play a central role in helping to shift labour movement resistance to the cuts into an even higher gear.

This is the backdrop to the discussions and decisions made at the NEC meeting on 17th December and overwelmingly reconfirmed at the NEC meeting on 14th January. Now, having agreed these essential motions, our union needs to move forward in a united way to defeat the education cuts that are set to blight current and future generations of our young people if not successfully challenged.

The demonstrations and national industrial action ballots for which the union is mobilising can help set the pace in creating a national movement against the Con-Dem inspired cuts. Every UCU member should play a part in this. We are on the verge of a national fight to defend education across Higher, Further and Adult Education. There is now an itinerary of events which can build towards the major TUC demonstration on March 26th and towards the kind of coordinated industrial action which we will need in order to defeat the Coalition's cuts. We need to make sure that every one of our branches is part of the action and that we encourage all college and university workers to get on board.

Vote for Action

It is crucial that we win the coming industrial action ballots which will begin in early February and run through to March. If we vote Yes then HE and FE members could take joint strike action in the week running up to the 26th March TUC demonstration, which is also Budget week.

Defending our jobs, our pensions, and ensuring our pay is protected, are inextricibly connected, and the following UCU Left leaflet sets out very concretely what each of us can do in the coming weeks to win the ballots associated with each, and to build the most effective action we need to take in order to combat these cuts and to defend education for all. Members in HE should also use the following National UCU leaflet to help build for a strong 'YES' vote in the imminent ballots.

NEC Elections

Of course none of this would be happening on this timescale and in this coordinated way if UCU Left supporters were not well represented within the elected lay leadership on the National Executive Committee and elsewhere. We have won those elections because our supporters have reputations for defending education, standing up for members, and leading many successful disputes.

It is therefore important that we ensure we continue to have an elected leadership committed to building a member-led, democratic union and which is prepared to encourage the kind of action we need. UCU Left are supporting a number of candidates in the NEC elections which start on 5th February and close on 4th March.

See here for UCU Left supported candidates.

UCU Left – Steering Committee


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