Ballot papers

You should by now have received your ballot paper for the election for General Secretary of the UCU. If you have not yet received it to your preferred address (home or work), please let a union rep know.

It’s important for democracy in the union that you use your vote.


An election hustings featuring the three candidates has been organised for next Monday evening at East Sussex College in Lewes.

General Secretary Hustings for UCU 2019
Question the candidates for General Secretary before you post your ballot.
Monday, 13 May 2019, 5.30-7.00pm – Lewes Campus (Map and Directions)

Our rationale for supporting Jo McNeill

Jo ran in the last General Secretary election, coming close to unseating the incumbent, Sally Hunt. She is the long-standing UCU branch president (chair) at Liverpool University and has been on the NEC for some time. Most importantly, she has a record of leading her branch in successful fights against redundancies, the imposition of new contracts and other attacks on staff working conditions attempted by management at Liverpool University. A member of UCU Left, she believes in a member-led union which regards the membership’s ability to mobilise and fight as its main asset. As her election posts make clear, she also understands that the fight to defend staff pay and conditions is inseparable from defending post-16 education – pre-92s, post-92s and FE – from the ravages of marketisation and competition. Jo’s flyer is attached.

Jo’s main competitor in the election is one of the senior full-time officials working at UCU head office, Matt Waddup. As a paid official of the union, Matt shares responsibility for the persistent problem in recent years of the union failing to implement strategy decisions made by branch delegates at annual congress. These failures have been particularly evident in successive HE pay campaigns. Like many union officials, Matt believes in a professional-style trade unionism pursued from head office which downplays the role of members fighting in their own interests. Matt was one of the key organisers of the staff walk-outs at last year’s congress designed to thwart the democratic right of delegates to hold the General Secretary to account over her conduct at a crucial moment in the USS pensions dispute.

The third candidate is Jo Grady, from Sheffield University UCU. Like Jo McNeill, Jo Grady is a rank and file candidate but, unlike Jo McNeill, has never held a senior officer’s position in a branch and does not have a track record of leading struggles. In CoCom’s judgment, she lacks the experience to be able to act independently of the full-time officials at head office.

The Coordinating Committee therefore recommends that you vote for Jo McNeill. But whether or not you accept our recommendation, please take the trouble to vote. Our new General Secretary needs a strong democratic mandate from the membership if our union is to be fit to face the challenges of the next few years.

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