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Members in HE: last day to post your vote!

Denis A Nicole (University of Southampton)

Election address

I am a Reader in Electronics at the University of Southampton. My teaching is mainly on cyber security, and my research is on software reliability. I have served UCU as Branch President, as Regional Chair, and now as Regional Treasurer. I am also our branch Pensions Officer and take my share of local casework. I was elected to NEC in 2017 where I have taken a leading role in developing both the Stress and Bullying Working Group and our participation at the TUC Tolpuddle festival. This year I gave the opening talk at their Free University. I also sit on the UCU Education Committee, with an interest in university governance reform, and on the National Ratification Panel. I am a lead Health and Safety representative at Southampton where I mainly deal with the hazards associated with engineering research. Failing pipework in the nanoelectronics laboratory keeps me busy.

In October, you elected me to the Democracy Commission; I hope it will be an important component of UCU's evolution as we grow and take on the challenges of marketization and of Brexit. Our successes fighting for pensions in early 2018 were overshadowed by the unfortunate events at Congress; we must not damage ourselves in this way again. I am working to help develop revised structures to ensure that the decisions we take as a Union meet the aspirations, and carry the support, of the majority of the members in our branches. This will, I believe, require reforms to ensure that Congress is more fully representative of the membership as a whole. Currently, under our rules, large branches are under-represented by up to 4:1. Some branches find it hard to fill even this quota because of Congress's timing, atmosphere, and duration; additional expensive special conferences have been inquorate or barely quorate. We also need to make changes to our Regional Committees. Some (for example South-West) work well, but others repeatedly have difficulty achieving a representative quorum; these nevertheless have a full role sending delegates to Congress.

Above all, I want to ensure that members take an active role in our Union. Please can I encourage you to use your vote in these elections, and to encourage others to use theirs. Around half of you vote in ballots for industrial action, but far fewer vote to elect the officers who will lead the action. I was elected on a barely 17% turnout last time; we can only have a democratic union if you exercise your democratic right.

I will also be voting for Cathy Pope, Sally Pellow, Adam Ozanne (VP HE), and Steve Sangwine (Treasurer); I would encourage you to do so too. Further information is at http://ucuagenda.com/elections.

Last updated: 1 February 2019