Peter Tennant, Leeds UCU Committee
I’d like to endorse Vicky for the UCU Vice President. Not because she asked me (I volunteered). Or because I’m meant to (I still haven’t got my head around UCU ‘faction’ stuff). But because I’ve been fortunate to know Vicky, as a friend, a colleague and a leader; and I cannot imagine a stronger or more inspiring president for our union.
I’ve been a member of the UCU for several years, but I wasn’t really involved until the Great USS Pension Strike of 2018. As my first experience of strike action, I initially found it very daunting. But Vicky’s friendliness, enthusiasm, and genuine interest in hearing everyone’s views helped me feel welcome and valued. Since then, I’ve been struck by her tireless efforts to seek out, understand, and represent the views of ordinary members. She frequently invites – and recieves – messages (by email and social media) from people who can’t attend meetings or are too shy to share their views in public. And she always takes the time to explain the various confusing union processes, to help ordinary members stay engaged.
Vicky is clearly driven by a deep concern for the welfare of others. Together with her warmth, wit, and wisdom, this makes her a formidable advocate and activist. For many years, she has championed anti-casualisation; dragging it from the periphery of our union’s vision to the heart of the current reballot. For younger members, this is no minor shift. As a junior researcher on repeated short term contracts, I found it very hard to relate to a union that seemed only ever concerned with pay and pensions. They seemed like a huge luxury against the existential worry of a forever uncertain future. I am proud that casualisation is now the forefront of our union’s mind, and thankful to Vicky for everything she’s done to achieve this.
More recently, Vicky has been directing her energies into democratic reform, co-chairing our union’s new democracy commission. With her involved, I am hopeful for our future as a more effective and more representative union. But if she became president, I believe we’d all have more of a voice in making and shaping that future