Endorsement from Dr Priyamvada Gopal, University of Cambridge
Over the nearly two decades I have taught at a British university, UCU has been fatally hamstrung by weak leadership at the top, leadership that was all too willing to capitulate—even after strong and courageous industrial action by the membership—to paltry and often frankly ridiculous offers by employers. This year we finally have a chance to break from that tradition of mechanical and often indifferent bureaucratic rule to bring on board a truly independent and thoughtful candidate who is also a working academic and is fully conversant with both the day-to-day and the long-term concerns which face us in this sector from pensions (on which she is an outstanding analyst) to workloads, casualisation and ‘hostile environment.’ Unlike career union leaders with little or no experience of ground realities, Jo Grady has been at the forefront of battles both at the local and national levels. (Her forensic clarity on pensions was absolutely galvanising for many of us who didn’t quite understand all the complexities of the matter.)
Today the HE sector in Britain is at a make-or-break crossroads and its future is vitally dependent on strong, informed and experienced leadership at the helm (experience, that is, of the issues that face working academics and not just union bureaucracy). Our future is dependent on the Union being led by a clear-sighted and committed figure, independent of sectarian affiliations, one who combines an impressive understanding of the issues at hand with kindness, understanding and generosity. That person, without a doubt, is Jo Grady. As General Secretary, she could, with our help, transform our future as a sector. Please help make this historic shift happen.