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2 June 2010

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UCU young members' conference

The University and College Union's first Young Members' Conference was held on 15 May. Around 30 delegates attended, from both further and higher education institutions and those practising in industrial settings.

James Naish

The event provided a good opportunity for delegates to experience - possibly for the first time - the operation of the union at a national level, as well as providing a chance to network with other young activists.

But the conference lacked clear objectives, and the range of broad discussions failed to deliver on substantial plans of action. Socialist Party members proposed concrete steps to tackle the challenges facing further and higher education - including a national demonstration on the day of the emergency budget and efforts to build alliances with the student community and the broader trade union movement.

An informal network of young activists was established with responsibility for co-ordinating the recruitment of young members, as well as for pushing for a democratic discussion over the structure of a young members' committee.

The UCU faces a number of challenges in recruiting young workers. They are vulnerable because they're usually at the start of their careers and therefore are more likely to be pressurised by their bosses, compared to their senior colleagues. Furthermore, young workers, especially if they're on casualised contracts, may fear victimisation if they either join or get active with the union.

Therefore, a national Young Members' Committee is essential to ensure that the issues young workers in academia and education face are addressed, and to build the next generation of union activists.

Striking at UAL

On 27 May UAL (University of the Arts London) took strike action across six colleges and up to 100 lecturers and students rallied outside Central St Martin's Art College in protest at job cuts. This is the fifteenth UCU branch in London to take strike action since March.

68% of the UCU members at UAL voted in favour of strike action to save the jobs threatened through course closures and 'restructuring'. At the rally staff were joined by students and campaigners against the closure of the college's nursery.

Colleges and universities across the country are facing massive cuts. With the announcement of further cuts of 200 million from university spending and 340 million in cuts in further education it is clear that national action uniting workers and students around an anti-cuts programme is needed to fight these attacks.

Suzanne Beishon

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In The Socialist 2 June 2010:

Stop Israeli state terror!

British Airways cabin crew strike

British Airways strike: Full support for the cabin crew

Environment and socialism

Oil spill is 'worst environmental disaster' to hit US

Socialist Party news and analysis

No to privatised academies: Defend public education

Millionaire cabinet plans cuts in benefits

One Law for the rich...

Them and us!

Interview with sacked Telegen workers

Youth Fight for Jobs: More trade unions add their support


Cardiff says 'no' to the racist EDL

Housing crisis

Gateshead tenants demand decent homes

Socialist Party LGBT

Socialists campaign for Pride not profit in Birmingham

Marxist analysis: history

Margaret Thatcher: Why workers cannot forget


Minority representation in Scotland for Westminster coalition of cuts

Socialist Party Scotland to be launched

Socialist Party workplace news

Fighting council cuts: Planning for united strikes in Kirklees

PCS conference Defend the public sector

Coventry - time for mass action

Will the councils fight the cuts?

University and Colleges Union: Congress votes to fight

UCU young members' conference

NSSN conference 2010

International socialist news and analysis

Jamaican armed forces surround and storm poor neighbourhood

Workers' suicides: The human cost of an iPad

Socialism Today


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Related links:


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triangleFurther education workers win pay rise in Wales


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Article dated 2 June 2010

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Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers.  They are fighting against

Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers. They are fighting against 'fire and rehire' - designed to worsen terms and conditions. Photo by Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party

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