UCU’s Fund the Future FE campaign

UCU members in further, adult and prison education are invited to register for UCU’s Fund the Future FE launch webinar: 7 July 2020 from 5:00pm till 6:15pm. Register here.

This event will launch UCU’s Fund the Future FE campaign. It will be the beginning of a discussion about the role of our sector post the Covid-19 crisis. A discussion document has been produced with input from members of UCU’s further education committee (FEC) to set out a vision and start the conversation which can be found here.

This exciting launch event will cover the many aspects of our complex sector and will be followed up by further webinars for each area.… Read on ...

Sacking of Long-Bailey

The University and College Union (UCU) branch at the Grand Parade campus of the University of Brighton passed the following resolution:

This branch expresses its dismay that the Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Rebecca Long-Bailey, has been sacked for retweeting an article from The Independent, by the actor Maxine Peake, which linked Israeli training to the ‘knee on the neck’ tactic of restraint. The branch notes that this is not an egregious link: the tactic is widespread in its use by Israeli forces against Palestinian protesters, and that the training of US law-enforcement officers by Israeli agencies has been in existence for many years.Read on ...

POLICE RACISM and UNION COLLUSION – the John Fernandes Case

In the early 1980s, John Fernandes, a lecturer at the Metropolitan Police Cadet School in Northwest London, published some essays by police cadets that were clearly racist. In the ensuing scandal, John was dismissed and his trade union, NATFHE, one of the forerunners of UCU, initiated disciplinary proceedings against officers of his branch who supported him. Now, nearly 40 years later, a pamphlet written to support John at the time has been found and digitised. At a time when the relationship between the police and the black community is in the news, it provides a useful contribution to the debate. It is particularly relevant to the discussion about the difference between “Multicultural Education” and “Anti-racist Education”.… Read on ...

Sign the Petition against the suspension of free travel for Older Persons during morning peak hours

Given that very few older persons are using public transport as the overwhelming majority are abiding by government advice and recognising that once any right is withdrawn, it is always hard to regain,
We the undersigned call for an immediate withdrawal of the suspension of free travel for Older Person’s Freedom Pass and and 60+ Card during morning peak hours.

Sign here…


Len_Duvall, London Assembly Member for Greenwich & Lewisham and Leader of the London Assembly Labour Group said:
The Government’s attack on the Freedom Pass and 60+ Card is an attack on us all. It hits workers, it hits the vulnerable, it hits those least able to afford a fares rise.Read on ...

If You Got A Boss, You Need A Union

The singer-songwriter Steve Earle has a new album out in which he sings about the worst mining disaster in the United States in 40 years.

On April 5, 2010, the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, owned by coal giant Massey Energy, exploded. Twenty-nine workers. Four years later, Don Blankenship, the CEO of Massey Energy, which had been fined nearly $400,000 in the year before the explosion for repeated and serious safety violations, was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly conspiring to violate mine safety rules, conspiring to cover up those violations, and providing false statements about Massey’s safety record.Read on ...

Solidarity with Mikalaj Valadzko

I hope you will take a few minutes to consider supporting a LabourStart campaign of basic class significance. It concerns denial of right to independent trade union representation among a group of vulnerable workers in Belarus. At the centre of the picture is dismissal of union organiser Mikalaj Valadzko. The LabourStart solidarity appeal underlines the urgency of international labour movement support:

Mikalaj Valadzko was suspended from his job at a shaft sinking project in Belarus after he started a local union to defend workers’ rights. The work is being carried out by German company Redpath Deilmann owned by Canadian company Redpath Mining.Read on ...

Margaret Dewey

Margaret Dewey, who sadly has died recently, was a key part of the lively NATFHE branch at the College of North-West London. She was an ESOL lecturer and at some point in charge of ESOL in the long-gone days when the government encouraged and almost properly funded ESOL, even if college management had, we suspected, a nasty habit of siphoning off some of its funds. The College was spread over many sites (Margaret mainly in Harlsden)  and the union provided a bridge for its left-wing activists. We had a ‘Rank and File ‘ college grouping , even if we didn’t call ourselves that, where we plotted and became good friends.… Read on ...

An end to incorporation

An article appeared in FE week reporting that the government is about to release a white paper on the future of Further Education. It says that the government is planning to take control of the sector.

It quotes Gavin Williamson saying:

“The FE sector is playing a pivotal role in making sure more people can access the high-quality education and training they need to progress and will support our economic recovery following the Covid-19 outbreak. Our reforms will build on and strengthen the excellent work already happening across the country and will ensure the FE sector is at the heart of every community.”Read on ...

Mugsborough Then & Now

The story of Robert Tressell and his book has been told and re-told by various authors, each account framed in accordance with their own perspective. His novel has also been the subject of academic scrutiny and literary criticism, but the approach adopted here is different. This new book focuses on the striking, not to say shocking parallels with modern day Britain, comparing Tressell’s descriptions of early 20th century Britain and with their 21st century counterparts.

Each subject is split into two parts, with the first section quoting examples from The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and in the second part evidence based modern-day equivalents are introduced.… Read on ...