UCU elections
Taking action in higher education

Joan Harvey (Newcastle University)

Election address

I am a Senior Lecturer in Work Psychology, based at Newcastle University since 1993, and currently working part-time on a fractional contract. I was a member of Senate for 4 years where I was able to mitigate some of the negative effects of policy decisions on our members.

A longstanding member of UCU, I have worked in FE in London, then at Newcastle Polytechnic/Northumbria University before joining Newcastle University.

My first union experience involved an equal opportunities employment tribunal against Newcastle Polytechnic management, which brought home the need to have a strong active union standing up for members' rights.  At Newcastle as Vice-president and President I undertook major policy negotiations, helped to increase recruitment and kept members informed through regular emails, consultations meetings and visits. My extensive casework has achieved real successes for members.

I believe passionately in fairness; if colleagues are treated unfairly, I work to put that right however I can, speaking up for members who may not dare to do so. Fairness encompasses issues from diversity to bullying and stress. The whole pensions debacle has treated members extremely unfairly, and I applaud the stalwart efforts of the members who fight on this and of our negotiators. Unfairness at all levels and in all places is what I find most intolerable and I will always fight it.

We are facing many challenges in higher education: foremost of course have been pensions, casualisation and pay. We really need to sort out the USS evaluation mess, with TPS also becoming an issue. Casualisation needs strong action, linked to action on workload and stress. UCU has well-developed policies on sustainability and I would like if to see us working with employers to really make this happen. We need a strong union to counterbalance the employers at both UK and local level. Our ability now to get the vote out shows how we can and do get past that evil legislation and we must continue to work to stop the excesses of mistreatment of our members. 

UCU is a broad church and we all can play our parts working together and trusting each other to do absolutely the best for our members. Personal or sectional differences are less important than our shared commitment to that aim and to the values we have in common- equity and inclusiveness, public education, decent jobs and workplaces.

It would be an honour for me to be re-elected to the NEC and as before, I would work my utmost to represent your interests and concerns and not shy away from difficult decisions. I ask you to give me the chance to do that, and also to support Janet Farrar for Vice-President.

Last updated: 30 January 2020