Friday, 15 June 2012

Kath Owen, Leeds University branch, 2012 HE Service Group Executive election address

Democracy is about accountability. Kath Owen stood for the Higher Education Service Group Executive, Yorkshire and Humberside Female seat, and was elected unopposed so her election address wasn't sent out to members, which is 'a bit strange'... I am therefore very happy to publish her election address here:

Kath Owen, Leeds University branch, 2012 HE Service Group Executive election address


"This is a crucial time for our union and the members we serve.  The economic situation and current Government's programme of budget cuts and privatisation schemes means hard times in the services in which we work and the public we serve.

Higher Education has seen sweeping changes before legislation has even passed Parliament in full.  The results are uncertainty for our sector and greater stress on staff.  These stresses will only increase as people are asked to do more in less time with what is likely to be a more demanding student body.

As a workplace rep in a students' union I know only too well the difficulties faced by staff in the front-line.  I have been involved in negotiation with management over redundancies, role evaluation, health & safety and changes to shift patterns, mostly with success.  I believe all outcomes are better where a rep is involved but most importantly staff have known that they are not on their own.  All our branches need to make sure SU staff are recruited and supported and this is something I am keen to promote.

Working with students I am aware of the impact of changes being made in the sector.  I remain opposed to the increased financial burden on students and the reduction in funding which brings increased marketisation and uncertainty for our institutions. I have been actively involved in my local anti-cuts group and attended both local and national demonstrations including 26 March and 30 November.

If elected I would be an effective voice for our sector's members at a national level. At this time our union needs to be strong to protect members' terms and conditions, building our membership, working in partnership with allies in local and national student organisations and our colleagues across the public sector.  As union members we are "All in this together" so let's put that sentiment into action."

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