Dr Eurig Scandrett (Queen Margaret University)

Election address

Senior Lecturer, Public Sociology, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Currently UCU Scotland Vice-Present, I have worked with fellow officers and activists to build UCU Scotland into the growing union that it is.

Universities are a public good for social benefit, which justifies public funding, no-fees, and free education. This needs a radical reform of university governance and an organised workplace with strong UCUS branches working constructively with sister campus unions. I stand for a strong, member-led, non-sectarian, accountable and activist union. I'm on the left but unaffiliated and support issues on the basis of principle and democratic mandate.

For 15 years I worked in community education and environmental campaigning, and have been active in the peace movement, pro-feminist activism, solidarity and green-left politics. I have brought insights from social movement campaigning into my work with UCU.

At branch level I have been President, Health and Safety and Environment rep, and longstanding caseworker. I have been committed to a shared and extended leadership with well-resourced and supported activists.

As Branch President I negotiated Recognition for UCU with facilities time amongst the best in Scotland, and innovative policies to undermine performance management and challenge workplace stress. QMU branch increased membership by 50%, developed an activist branch structure, and was granted UCUS Organising Award.

I have taken a lead role in the campaign against cuts and redundancies at QMU, with innovative proposals for academic professionalism, social ownership and democratic governance which, at the time of writing, has mass member support for industrial action.

As UCUS Vice-President I have promoted initiatives around widening participation, governance and international solidarity and instigated seminars on the future of HE, Palestine and Just Transition from oil dependency. Through UCUS, I have negotiated fee waivers and financial support for three Palestinian students at Scottish Universities.

UCUS has demonstrated vision and action in the face of the growing crisis in HE. The impacts of austerity and marketisation include casualisation and performance management; inequalities between institutions; 'Prevent', the 'hostile environment' and the impacts of Brexit. We must continue to pursue the UCUS-led campaign for accountable university governance, extending its scope to democratising universities from the governing body to the seminar room. We have consistently challenged gender-based violence and harassment on campus. As leaders in these movements, UCUS has demonstrated that HE policy can be influenced strategically by cooperation, campaigning and industrial action.

Last year's momentous strike to defend USS pensions was an inspirational turning point on which we need to capitalise. We defied legislation designed to cripple trade unions. In a post-92 institution we demonstrated how solidarity can be built across branches whether directly affected or not and as Vice-President I joined pre-92 comrades on picket lines and at student occupations.

Last updated: 1 February 2019