A letter to activists
September 14, 2010 Leave a comment
I hope everyone had a good break over the summer. The last few weeks have seen the Con-Dem cuts starting to hit home as thousands of students are turned away from university. In the autumn term this will only intensify.
In October we will hear back from both the Browne review on university funding and the Treasury spending review. The latter will be the focus of a UCU day of action on 20 October, and we look forward to a joint UCU and NUS national demonstration on 10 November.
The proliferation of local disputes and campaigns that we saw in 2009-10 shows no signs of slowing down either. The need for solidarity and coordination between staff and students across the sector is more urgent than ever. For this reason we are organising a conference on Sunday 31 October.
Our aim is to arm trade unionists and student campaigners for the struggles we face. Workshops with activists from some of last year’s landmark disputes, like Sussex University and Tower Hamlets College, will share some of our best experiences. Radical academics and economic commentators will help make sense of the crisis, the cuts and the choices facing our movement.
We will also be electing a standing committee to provide coordination at a national level for all staff and students campaigning in higher and further education.
The government is determined to devastate our sector, but we begin this year in a stronger position than last year, with the experience of several successful struggles to draw upon. After the success of our 400-strong teach-in in February, the Education Activist Network is in a good position to help build and coordinate united resistance.
This conference needs your support. Passing a motion in your union branch backing the project will help spread the message of what we are trying to do. We want to publicise the event far and wide, and bring in speakers from abroad to share lessons from events in Greece and elsewhere. None of this is possible without the broadest possible support from the movement.
Attached are further details about the conference, a registration form and a model motion to raise in your union or organisation. I look forward to seeing you on 31 October.
President, King’s College London UCU