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UCU balloon. Photo: Flickr/Dun.can

UCU balloon. Photo: Flickr/Dun.can

Voting starts this week for a new general secretary for the UCU, following the resignation of Sally Hunt. Counterfire members in the union have agreed this statement:

In the light of the attacks on post-16 education and the significance of this vote, it’s a shame that there are two left candidates standing. Both candidates, Jo McNeill and Jo Grady, have a big contribution to make to the union nationally and have already played a significant role in recent battles. We sincerely hope that one of them becomes General Secretary and leads a union that will defend its members and coordinate resistance to the day-to-day attacks on staff and students’ working and learning conditions. 

Faced with a choice, however, we are calling for a vote for Jo McNeill, with second preferences going to Jo Grady. We do so because of Jo M’s long record of leadership inside the national union, her defence of jobs and services at Liverpool University – including her branch’s current fantastic opposition to unreasonable research performance expectations – and her commitment to organised left politics that we believe are an essential part of trade unionism. She received a very good vote (41%) when she stood against Sally Hunt in the last election. 

However, we urge everyone who is committed to a rank-and-file led union not to waste your second vote. We encourage everyone to vote for both Jo’s whoever you put first and to campaign in your branch to make sure that it’s the politics and vision of the two Jo’s that shapes this crucial election.

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