Vote Rhiannon for HE women’s rep, UCU NEC

With Nita Sanghera and Dave Muritu at the start of UCU congress 2018.

UCU Vice President, NEC and trustee elections open on 31st January and close on 4th March 2020. I am standing for a women’s HE seat and supporting UCU left candidates for a union which is member-led and has equality issues at its centre: exactly how these two, my gritty, vivacious sister Nita Sanghera (and of course my partner Dave Muritu) always fought for it to be.

What I stand for:

 

Equality belongs at the heart of our union. 

I’m energised by the determination of our pickets this winter and support the centralisation of equality and casualisation in our disputes: this has been hard-fought for my left activists over a long period of time and must not be abandoned. As as NEC member I will always speak for our most vulnerable members and hold leadership to account.

We must build from this and fight for an education system which values all of us: we have to dismantle the hierarchies which trap women, disabled workers, LGBT+ workers, Black and migrant workers at the bottom with lowest pay and least security. 

We must end the practice of shutting down dissenting voices and strike leaders from our most marginalised workers.

We must defend educational access for all. 

I’m a lone parent, a foundation year lecturer and a doctoral researcher at BCU. 

I work with amazing studentsin health, education and life sciences, whilst studying the journeys of working class adult students. My background prior to HE is Access education: I am proud of my FE roots.

I am a Labour Party member, an antifascist, and a feminist influenced by intersectional feminism and Marxism. 

I am a UCU left backed candidate: this means I will support member-leadership, industrial action, and centralising equality in UCU decision-making. In my previous time on NEC I worked hard to ensure I was accessible to members, attending regional meetings and sending full reports on meetings and my activity to support the union. If elected I will continue to report fully on meetings and engage transparently with members about how I vote.

 

 

My record:

In my time as a UCU activist I have consistently pushed our position on equality, repeatedly fighting for and winning the support of congress on issues which have faced opposition from conservative elements of the union. We must consistently stand with marginalised and oppressed groups.

I have won national UCU backing for policy on: 

 Trans rights;
 Sex worker rights;
 Equality strand officers on regional committees
 Intersectionality, including separate times for conferences for members from different equality groups

Reinforced commitment to: 

 Abortion rights;
 Adult education;
 ESOL;
 Challenging racism;
 The national education service;
 Defending migrants

 

It was an honour to play a central role in the election of UCUs first Black presidential candidate Nita Sangheraand I’m proud to have her endorsement. I did not know when I stood for NEC she would not be here with us. I want to do everything I can to live up to the belief she had in me.

 

I have been a branch officer for the last 8 years, steering and supporting through a period of catastrophic attacks on our communities and on education itself.

Branch representation: 

 Successfully challenged impact of timetabling on workload
 Introduced facility time
 Institutional commitment to UCU sexual harassment policy
 Support for refugees
 Support for DV training and services
 Extensive case work experience

I have led a branch through a local dispute over victimisation and through parallel pay disputes outside of national bargaining. 

I am active in the community and will always support mobilisations against attempts to intimidate.  My community record includes collectively driving the Trump funded anti-choice march for life out of Birmingham, organising large mobilisations against the bedroom tax and the DUP deal. I value working with student groups and sister unions.

 

 

Trade union service:

 

Branch Secretary: Halesowen College 2013-18; BCU 2019+

West Midlands Region: Women’s officer 2011-14, 2017-18, Chair 2014-17

Women Members Standing Committee: 2013-19

UCU Women’s Conference delegate: 2011-19

Women’s TUC delegate: 2014-18

NEC: 2017-19

TUC delegate: 2017-18


It is a privilege to represent members. If you elect me I will work hard with you to grow our union and honour that privilege. Whoever you vote for, please vote!

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