Elaine White, NEC women’s FE, casualised ESOL teacher and branch rep
When I think of Vicky Blake the trade unionist, I think grassroots campaigner, communicator and do-er. I met her through the Anti-Casualisation Committee and currently work with her on the NEC. And I know what she has achieved and what she could achieve if given the chance in this election for Vice-President.
Precarious work is one of the biggest industrial issues facing us in education and throughout all industries today. Especially for younger workers.
I know Vicky has lived the precarious existence until quite recently and from that view actively fights precarity side-by-side with us who are still living it now. If Vicky becomes UCU president then I think this will be a great signal to show that UCU is getting serious about fighting casualisation which will make the union a more attractive place for younger trade unionists and activists and will make a positive impact on the wider trade union movement.
Vicky practices solidarity in words and in action. As she is someone who works in HE, she is still very conscious of the issues we face in FE which she demonstrated recently when she went out of her way in November to bring solidarity to our pay strike picket.
She also campaigns on and attends demos on a number of issues including women’s reproductive rights, anti-austerity campaigns and actions, freedom of movement and anti-fascist campaigns which are all important campaigns for UCU members and is important that UCU activists are at these events.
I am in UCU Left but on this occasion I am supporting Vicky who is unaligned but no less a fighter for workers’ rights and solidarity. I am supporting her this year because I think her skills, experiences and values are the right ones to have in the presidential team this year and would complement the excellent work done by the current FE VP Nita Sanghera. Vicky has a proven track record of supporting, organising and leading serious industrial action and her media experience makes her well placed for publicity and getting our campaigns out to a wider audience.
She is principled and democratic and collaborative to her core and ensures that she has uses every channel to communicate with as many members as possible to explain her position and listen to others and I believe at this present time her ability to bring different voices together will support making our union a stronger, more open, more democratic, fighting and winning union.
I am voting Vicky Blake 1, Jo McNeill 2