One Month On, What Does the Election of Jo Grady Mean for UCU?

One month ago, Jo Grady was elected as our next General Secretary. What does this mean for rank and file voices in the union and for our prospects of beating back the employers’ assault?

In this piece, written for the UCU Branch Solidarity Network, Lesley McGorrigan (Leeds UCU), Andy Williams (Cardiff UCU), and Marian Carty (Goldsmiths UCU) give their personal takes: What does Jo Grady mean for the UCU

If you’d like to write a piece for the Branch Solidarity Network, or have suggestions for future blog posts, you can email: 

Jo Grady elected as new UCU General Secretary:

Jo Grady from the University of Sheffield has been (convincingly) elected as the new leader of the UCU on the highest turnout ever in a UCU leadership vote. This is the first time that a rank and file member has been elected, and this represents an exciting new direction for our union.

Read her inspiring address to UCU Congress last week.

You can read more about Jo’s priorities on her manifesto page, as well as checking out short videos about her plans & a whole bunch of other resources.

The Times Higher Education covered the win (paywalled, but all Cardiff Uni staff & students get access).

Novara Media also covered the results

Last Chance to Vote in the UCU General Secretary Election

You should have all received your postal ballot papers for the election of the UCU General Secretary. They need to be returned by Thursday 23rd May and the postage-paid return envelope is 2nd class post, so please do send your ballot ASAP (by Monday at the latest).

Turnout in the these elections tends to be very low (13-14% in the last three General Secretary elections), with membership inertia playing a greater role than is desirable.

The retirement of Sally Hunt has created an opportunity for a more open contest this year with two candidates from the Union’s membership in HE choose from (this is unprecedented) as well as a long-standing national UCU head office employee.

We urge you to read or listen to the manifestos of the three candidates, and to exercise your right to vote on the future leadership of the union:

You can also watch a video of a recent hustings event.

UCU General Secretary Hustings, Cardiff, Saturday 11th May

The election for the new General Secretary of UCU is open and closes at noon on Thursday 23rd May. The General Secretary is the most senior position in the Union and the General Secretary will lead the Union over the next 5 years UCU has only ever had one General Secretary since its founding, Sally Hunt, who was General Secretary for 12 years.

This election is arguably the most important one in the Union and it is crucial that everyone votes! We are hosting a ‘hustings’ where candidates for General Secretary talk about why we should elect them and respond to questions from the floor.

Do you want to find out more about the current state of University and College education in the UK – across higher, further, adult, and prison education sectors? Do you want to influence the direction of the University and College Union for the next five years?

Find out how the candidates for General Secretary will address issues across the sector and change UCU for the better! We encourage all UCU members to attend!

When and where: Saturday 11th May, 1pm-2.30pm, Room E0.15, School of Mathematics, Senghennydd Road, Cardiff.

Vote in the UCU National General Secretary Election

Following the resignation of Sally Hunt, a vacancy has arisen in the position of general secretary of the University and College Union. The position of general secretary is a full-time, salaried position as the union’s chief executive – in other words this is the most important vote for a UCU officer in a long while.

The candidates, with links to their manifestoes, are:

You can view a video of hustings hosted by Cambridge UCU. You can also read the emails written to members and already circulated by UCU head office.

The election for UCU General Secretary opened on Monday 29 April and closes at noon on Thursday 23 May 2019. Ballot material will be dispatched on 29 April – the union knows that this can take a few days to arrive.

If any member has not received the ballot paper to which they are entitled by Tuesday 7 May, they should request a duplicate using an online form which will be made available on this page. If you have any queries about the election process, please contact Catherine Wilkinson on: (she’s head of constitution and committees).

Candidate info for position of UCU General Secretary

The candidates for UCU General Secretary have now been announced and campaigning has begun. The candidates (in alphabetical order) are listed below, linked to their websites, where you can read about how they’d run our union, as well as find out about who’s endorsing their campaigns and why:

Your vote will be a postal ballot (between 19th April and 23rd May), and we urge you all to use it. As we’ve seen over the last year, whoever is in charge of our union has a huge say over momentous decisions about our futures. This is an important one.

Update on UCU national General Secretary election candidates

Declared candidates to lead UCU after the resignation of Sally Hunt so far are (alphabetically, followed by Twitter handles):

Nominations are still open, and should be submitted by 8th April, after which manifestos will be shared and campaigning begins. The vote will be a postal ballot (another one, sorry!) between the 29th Apr-23 May. View further info and updates.