UCU elections
Taking action in higher education

Dr Edward Yates (University of Sheffield)

Election address

My name is Edward Yates.  I am a lecturer in Employment Relations at the University of Sheffield School of Management, and a branch committee member of Sheffield UCU.

I am standing as a candidate for election for two reasons.  One, I have witnessed first-hand how our higher education sector is threatened by issues of excessive workloads, declining real-wages, job insecurity, and pension degradation.  Two, I have seen how active participation by UCU members can challenge and overcome these problems!

I was a PhD student and fixed-term contract staff member during the 2018 pensions strike, and was inspired by the energy and commitment of my fellow striking students and staff.  The strikes showed how UCU members - acting together - can affect real change.  A pro-active, grass-roots, member-led action was successful in preventing our members settling for a bad deal.

The 2019 strikes have however shown how little has changed in higher education, and how we need to keep mobilising to challenge the continued attacks on our working conditions, pay, security and pensions.   If elected to the NEC I will aim to facilitate more bottom-up mobilising and decision-making in UCU - It is only through pro-active member participation that progressive change will occur. 

I am committed to representing and giving a voice to the broadest range of member interests.  More importantly, I will commit myself to making decisions which address the underlying problems in higher education.   I am an employment relations specialist and can contribute my academic knowledge and expertise of trade union strategy and organising to the NEC position.

My main aims if elected as an NEC member would therefore include:

  • Increasing grass-roots UCU member participation as much as possible
  • Promoting increased union democracy, and greater workplace democracy
  • Engaging with, and recruiting, higher education staff who have not previously been involved with UCU
  • Amplifying the voice of marginalised and precarious staff groups in higher education

A successful trade union is only as good as its members.  I know from my years spent in higher education that UCU is made up of some amazing members who are deeply committed to the higher education sector and the vital role it plays in our society.  By increasing opportunities for members to have more of a say in how our union is run, and encouraging members to become more involved, we can achieve great things and reverse the rot in higher education.

Finally, I would like to add that I am an unaffiliated candidate, unaligned to any political faction in UCU.  I am also supportive of the candidacies of Ruth Holliday and Matilda Fitzmaurice for NEC NE seats.

Last updated: 30 January 2020