The remarkable turnaround which saw the University and College Union (UCU) name 1 March as the day for further action in the Teachers Pension Scheme dispute (TPS, which covers workers in “post-92” universities and FE colleges) was won by the UCU National Executive Committee in the face of stern opposition from UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt.
In response, Hunt is now ascending to the moral high ground via a phoney consultation with branches and individual members. Eamon de Valera only had to look into his own heart to know the will of the Irish people; Hunt only has to invite emails from every member to know her own will. These repeated attempts at rule by anti-democratic “consultations” render her unfit for office. Fortunately the General Secretary election is almost upon us.
The challenger, Mark Campbell of the SWP-dominated UCU Left caucus, is severely limited politically. Nevertheless, he should be supported as the candidate standing against Hunt’s attempted sell out on pensions.
If further inter-union talks can bring about a joint UCU-PCS-NUT date for action in March, that would give the dispute an enormous shot in the arm.
A 31 January special conference of UCU branches in “pre-92” universities, where members are in the Universities Superannuation Scheme and are not covered by the 1 March strike, voted (by 66-41) to endorse Hunt’s suspension of action.
But a solid strike by UCU members in FE post-92 — even better, alongside NUT and PCS members — would be a focus for organising even for workers in unions where a sell-out is already a reality.