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UCU at TUC congress 2016

It was a busy time for UCU delegates at the 148th annual TUC congress in Brighton this week. On Sunday evening UCU vice-president Joanna de Groot warned that pensions needed protection as Britain came to terms with life after the vote to leave the EU.

Brexit was a dominant theme of the week with numerous speakers making the case for proper protection of jobs and conditions in the wake of the vote to leave. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt spoke to UCU's motion on the post-Brexit landscape. She highlighted the important role immigrants have played in Britain and how the disgusting drip feed of racism and xenophobia during the referendum had resulted in increased numbers of hate crimes.

Education was another key theme of the week with the debate over grammar schools prompting a number of emergency motions. Julia Charlton spoke to one listing the failings of selective education and making the case for decent education for all children. Julia also spoke about the Prevent duty and the damage it is causing on campus and in our communities.

Vice-president Vicky Knight made the case for evidence-based decisions when it comes to prison education, while president Rob Goodfellow moved UCU's motion that warned that ambitious plans for apprenticeships could not be achieved without proper funding and support for colleges.

As ever, UCU played a full part in events throughout the week attending various fringe meetings and speaking to motions on a range of subjects. UCU Scotland president Douglas Chalmers moved an emergency motion about the situation in Colombia following the peace settlement and the release of Dr Miguel Beltran which called for the release of Huber Ballasteros and other political prisoners.

Pauline Collins spoke on the need for people to work smarter, not simply longer, and Vicky Blake, from UCU's anti-casualisation committee, asked a question about the TUC's work on casualisation - specifically about plans for the movement's parliamentary work.

The event closed on Wednesday afternoon when this year's president - Liz Snape from Unison - handed the reigns (and presidential badge) over to Dr Mary Bousted, ATL's general secretary.

Last updated: 16 September 2016