The candidates to be the next general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU) are setting out their stalls to lead the union.
The three candidates who have thrown their names into the hat are Jo Grady, Jo McNeill and Matt Waddup.
The elections are due to take place from 29 April to 23 May. The election was sparked by the resignation of general secretary Sally Hunt on health grounds in February.
Among the policies tabled so far include calls for all FE courses to be made free, the education maintenance allowance (EMA) to be reinstated and Ofsted should be abolished and replaced with a system of self-inspection.
Here are the candidates' manifesto commitments for the FE sector.
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Background: Revealed: The candidates bidding to lead UCU
- Repeal of the 2013 Act making it compulsory for 16- to 18-year-olds to be in work education and training
- Fees should be scrapped and all courses in FE should be free.
- Bringing back democratic control of awarding bodies.
- The FE sector should be brought back under the democratic control of local authority /regional bodies.
- Funding per student to match that in schools.
- There should be clear funding commitments to FE provision over a 10-year period, not the stop-start approach currently adopted.
- EMA and the adult learning grant to be restored.
- All governing bodies should have representation based on: 25 per cent local community leaders, 25 per cent local employers, 25 per cent staff/union, 25 per cent students.
- College unions to be included in all management recruitment procedures.
- A lecturer’s teaching hours should be no more than 19-hours a week.
- Ofsted should be abolished and replaced with self-inspection and learner evaluation based on a negotiated developmental approach.
- Struggling colleges should be encouraged to twin with stronger ones to gain experience and exchange best practice.
- Entitlement to paid sabbatical every seven years.
- Pay parity with school teachers.
- National negotiated agreements must be legally binding on all colleges.
- All agency staff to be offered direct employment contracts.
- Full training with four hours remission a week to be given to all employees (HPL and salaried) to gain level 4 teaching qualifications.
- Reverse the cuts in adult learning.
- Scrap the 19-plus loans for teenagers and 24-plus loans for adults returning to education to study Access courses.
- Adult learning to be given equal funding status with other provision.
- Refugees to be given the right to free education
- The union needs clear, unifying negotiating objectives not vague aspirations. My priority would be to reach agreements with employers that deliver higher salaries and fairer progression for all.
- Address our equality concerns including the gender and ethnicity pay gaps across post-16 education.
- Establish transparent employment, development and progression rights for early career staff.
- Tackle the unmanageable workloads and unrealistic expectations currently faced by many staff.
- Maintain the professional status of academic-related staff and defend their jobs.
- Make sure all teachers in FE and adult education are paid the proper rate and close the appalling pay gap with school teachers.
- Ensure our prison educators are safe at work as well as properly rewarded.
- Protect members’ pension benefits whether in USS where we may need to take action again or TPS, where increased employer costs imposed by government, threaten both jobs and benefits.
- Provide a better deal for international staff including support with visa, health and other transfer costs so our colleagues feel wanted rather than unwelcome.
- The USS campaign shows the way. Members, branches and UCU staff worked together to beat back a proposal to take away our guaranteed pensions. The point is that if we want USS style victories, we need a USS style plan and USS style unity of purpose.
- If elected, I will shift the union towards a more strategic approach to bargaining by consulting with members, planning our campaign properly and communicating clearly.
- Investing in our branches and staff so activists have the local resources and back-up to bargain effectively and defend members.
- Prioritising proactive action on workload, casualisation, pay and equality concerns where and how it will be most effective and striking hard when we need to.
- Will publish her manifesto shortly.