UCU elections
Taking action in higher education

Sarah King (University of Sussex)

academic related

Election address

I have been a UCU branch rep for 3 years at IDS, a sub-branch of Sussex University UCU, and am a member of the Sussex University UCU Executive. I work in research communications, so I am a professional staff member. I have been determined to increase the representation of our membership, to amplify quieter voices, and I have successfully grown and widened our membership. The cross-section of staff has enabled greater support and solidarity. This is critical in building a strong union that works for, and with, all its members. I have been inspired by Jo Grady's vision, set out in her manifesto.

I want UCU to be more accessible for lower paid and precariously employed staff, discriminated groups and professional staff. I have spoken to colleagues who thought UCU was for academic staff only, staff who say the fees are too high and that they don't see UCU as a union for them. Many members I speak to don't understand how UCU is structured and how decisions are made.

I believe there is more that can be done nationally, in democratic transparency and amplifying members voices.

If elected I will:

  • actively seek ways to transform UCU's structures so that decisions are more member-led and structures are better understood
  • demand that motions and details from NEC meetings are made public to members
  • put forward campaign strategies to reach wider staff groups

I was active during the 2018 USS strike and have been campaigning solidly throughout the recent industrial action. I have worked hard alongside colleagues to get the vote out, at IDS and Sussex, which were both in the top 3 for voter turnout. As well as encouraging people to cast their vote, I wanted to ensure they had information to make informed decisions. I arranged meetings with presentations providing the opportunity for staff to share views and ask questions. I also run the Sussex UCU Twitter account and have produced various graphics, flyers and videos to communicate our messages.

I am interested not only in how UCU can better support people with issues that affect them in the workplace, but also in their daily lives. I want to explore how we can link up better with organisations and community groups for mutual support around challenges people live with, financial struggles, mental health, access to services and more. I want to connect with social movements on race, disability, gender, inequality and climate. And I want us to maintain and build on the solidarity with students, seen during industrial action.

I am standing as an unaffiliated candidate, and If elected, I will bring my experience in campaigning, fresh ideas and perspectives, and a passion for equality and inclusivity.

Last updated: 30 January 2020