A message from Roger

The UCU general secretary ballot result has now been declared and Sally Hunt has been elected. The union and our members face major and difficult challenges from employers and government in almost every aspect of our working lives. The turnout was just 13.9 per cent which in itself suggests the scale of the challenge the union faces. I wish Sally Hunt very well in meeting those challenges. To meet them successfully will require a clear strategic vision and a determined articulate response which members can have confidence in and ownership of. I will seek to play my part in ensuring that is the case through my continuing role as Head of Equality and Employment Rights Finally I would like to sincerely thank the hundreds of members who sent messages of support and campaigned during the election.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Tuesday 5th March

What’s climate change got to do with UCU?

I’ve just heard that a UCU branch may be submitting a motion on sustainability to UCU’s Congress in Bournemouth in June.

I hope they do.

And before I get emails saying “what’s this got to do with my union subscriptions”, let me explain why.

One. Climate change doesn’t have a UCU members' exclusion zone. It affects us all – union members or not, our families and our friends.

Two. Whilst the science isn’t conclusive enough for some people, it seems conclusive enough for most scientists. Conclusive enough to assert that there is some connection between human activity and a threat of global warming.

Three. We can make a difference as a union. Firstly, by how we organise ourselves – how we run our offices, for example. Secondly, how our employers run themselves, with a particular role for health and safety reps to extend discussions of work environment into wider environmental concerns. Thirdly, by whether we use appropriate opportunities to encourage critical discussion on global warming in our professional work. Fourthly, the extent to which we as a union join forces with others in supporting wider social movements and political lobbying on the issue.

To me it all seems relevant to UCU’s members interests that their union plays its own very tiny part in making sure the planet is there for us to be active in when our great grandchildren go to university.

If a motion does reach the conference floor, we’ll have the chance to discuss all these issues in sunny Bournemouth in three months’ time.

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A trade unionist all his working life. An activist and a proud campaigner, Roger has consistently worked to defend human rights of workers. As the leader of the Equality and Employment Rights team in the newly formed UCU he continues to unite the movement around equality and keep employment rights at the top of the agenda.