Vicky Blake

Widening Participation Officer (Academic-Related)

Campaign flyer available in colour and greyscale.

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I’m standing for VP in a year of unprecedented membership growth and engagement in UCU. New and established activists are organising: joining branch, regional, and national committees, and mobilising online networks including USS Briefs, International and Broke, Academics for Pensions Justice, and Rank and File. Sustaining and building this momentum requires UCU leadership to make our democratic structures accessible and work transparently with grassroots members, empowering local activism. I wholeheartedly seconded the Congress motion creating the Democracy Commission to review UCU’s democratic structures, and was elected its co-chair.

UCU was my lifeline during ten years of exploitative casual contracts. I will always stand for secure work, fair pay and conditions, and solidarity between all colleagues. As Anti-casualisation Committee chair, I advocated for Anti-casualisation representatives on branch/regional committees and put research-driven campaigns at the heart of UCU’s bargaining agenda. I coordinated with the Guardian to expose “Sports Direct” university employment models in 2016.

I’m in my sixth year on the National Executive. Last year I became President of my branch, leading it in two major disputes. During the Statutes and USS strikes, I coordinated extensive media campaigns involving regular contributions to national and local TV, radio, and newspapers, including the Today programme and Guardian. At UK and branch level, I seek feedback and communicate directly with as many activists as possible, using social media to inform my policy positions.

As an unaligned candidate I’m well placed to bring people together. These experiences, coupled with campaigning and negotiation skills, qualify me to be your Vice President.

UCU must prioritise:

  • Fighting for secure work, fair and equal pay and workloads across post-16 education and adult community education, our most casualised sector20190206_083857_0001 - Copy
  • Directly opposing Hostile Environment policies; proper representation for international and EU members in union structures
  • Prevent researchers becoming collateral damage by demanding government replaces lost funding after Brexit
  • Fighting downgrading, outsourcing, over-reliance on centralisation, and lack of professional development for Academic-Related / Professional Services
  • Campaigning against structural discrimination, for diversity in post-16 education
  • Opposing reliance on methodologically unsound, biased “performance” measures
  • Protecting UK-wide pay bargaining in HE
  • Promoting realignment to national pay bargaining framework and proper funding in FE, fighting to regain parity with school colleagues
  • Safety for prison educators
  • Exposing underhand employment practices masked by subsidiary companies and outsourcing

National UCU service:

  • NEC, HEC: Casualised representative 2013-17; National representative 2017-19
  • Education: 2016-19; Chair 2018-19
  • Democracy Commission Co-Chair 2018-19
  • Anti-Casualisation: 2011-17; Chair 2012-17
  • Recruitment, Organising, Campaigns: 2013-18
  • Academic Related, Professional Staff 2016-18
  • Women Members (2011-13; 2016-17; 2018-19)
  • Delegate:
  • TUC 2016, 2018
  • Women’s TUC 2012-13, 2017

Leeds University UCU:

  • President 2017-19
  • VP 2015-17
  • Membership Officer 2014-15;
  • Committee 2012-

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