UCU elections
Taking action in higher education

Dr Teresa Forde (University of Derby)

Election address

I am a Senior Lecturer at the University of Derby. I have been a Branch Representative for over ten years and specifically a Branch Equality Officer for the last six years. I am also Deputy Chair of the UCU East Midlands Regional Committee. During this time as a branch representative and Officer my work has been focused on supporting members with issues such as part time work, appraisals, working conditions and career progression. As part of the Branch Committee I have been keen to ensure that policy and procedures are proactive and non-detrimental to staff and been involved in scrutinising Equal Pay Audits and campaigning for the importance of equal pay. As Branch Officer for Equality I have become involved with Equality and Diversity issues. I am currently developing a Gender Equality Network to draw together people who wish to be pro-active within the University and make connections to other organisations outside in establishing effective change. I have invited UCU to discuss LGBTQ+ issues and addressed these within gender network and research contexts. I have challenged the predominance of zero hours contracts and the increasing casualisation of work within HE as it is detrimental to anyone who goes off sick or who wishes to convert their ongoing contracts to a pro rata post. Aligned with this is an ongoing concern with parity of workload.

My interest in the vacancy of representative for HE Midlands stems from my belief in establishing the relationship between local, regional and national bodies so that all have a voice. Debate at Regional level has been invaluable in gaining an understanding of how issues within Higher Education are having an impact on colleagues and the ways in which we can work together in order to support each other and establish change. Feeding into the campaign structure, I intend to take these issues forward at a national level to ensure that local and regional concerns are incorporated into national strategy and, in turn, fed back to regional and branch committees. This perspective is based on issues of equality and the trades union collective approach. I initially became a local government union representative and began to understand the power of collective action and the ensuing effect that this could create. Also, working in a co-operative for a number of years I understood the need to debate and negotiate based on principles in order to achieve a viable outcome. I will take these principles forward within the NEC and endeavour to fight for equality and change.

Last updated: 30 January 2020