Allister Mactaggart (Chesterfield College)

Election address

I am standing for the Midlands FE seat because I believe it is important that the interests of FE members across this wide region are fully represented at a national level.

I have worked as a lecturer at Chesterfield College, where I teach media, since 1997, and I have been an active union member throughout my teaching career. My various roles within the union include the following:

·       Departmental rep over many years.

·       Branch Chair, and have been elected into this position, or that of Vice Chair, since 2010.

·       Branch delegate to Chesterfield and District TUC where I have served on the Executive Committee since 2016.

·       Delegate to East Midlands Regional Committee over several years, and Regional Secretary since 2017.

·       UCU Congress delegate over several years where I have spoken on a number of motions and amendments on behalf of my branch and region.

I have been active in many campaigns within my college, including a sustained and successful one to remove graded lesson observations. I also deal with a large amount of casework which has provided me with opportunities to develop skills in negotiation in an effort to resolve issues locally.  Caseworking has involved dealing with many issues of Equality and Health and Safety.  However, such work by itself cannot resolve the major problems the sector face. Further and Adult education continues to be severely underfunded and we can all see the negative impact this has upon staff, students and the communities we serve. The empty rhetoric by the current government that austerity has ended rings hollow in a sector where college funding will have been cut by around 30% between 2009 and 2019.

However, now is not the time to be pessimistic but to realise that we can pursue actions to work towards the betterment of our sector. As a supporter of UCU Left I believe a democratic, member-led union which actively campaigns for our sector is essential. The success in November 2018 of UCU branches in negotiating an historic deal on the 2018/19 pay claim with the Capital City College Group in London demonstrates that positive changes can be made and that resolute action to safeguard further and adult education can have an affirmative impact. Similarly, the Love Our Colleges campaign was a most encouraging example of joint action across the sector to make the case for fair funding.  FE provision must contribute to widening participation in education and advancing social equality.

I would encourage all members to use their vote in these important elections. I will use my best endeavours to represent the interests of FE members across the Midlands at a national level.

Last updated: 1 February 2019