Vicky Blake UCU President Join A Union✊🏼✊🏿✊🏽✊🏼 Profile picture
UCU President | ARPS | @LeedsUCU | | Feminist running addict | Widening participation | Labour | Own capacity | She/Her | RT=/=endorsement
Dec 30, 2020 31 tweets 9 min read

On the need for urgent decisions & a comprehensive set of measures *today*

"Delayed and tentative decision making will result in the deaths of tens of thousands more people"

Getting worse: several more thousand people in hospital than at April peak: no's still rising Cases in *all* regions are going up, reflected in hospital admissions.

Every region except NE and NW have more people in hospital than during the first wave.

We don’t yet know if tier 4 is enough to slow or contain covid.

The impact of Xmas mixing is still to come.
Dec 29, 2020 7 tweets 2 min read
Any continued devotion to schools + colleges going back to in person teaching on 4 January must stop.

It’s deadly.

“Bringing in the military” to do...webinars for lateral flow testing (not accurate enough to be relied upon as a mitigation) is dangerous.

4 Jan is too early. Things are very, very bad

Aug 17, 2020 10 tweets 5 min read
Relieved about #ALevelResults U-turn but make no mistake: the grading scandal has *already hurt* many students who have already had an impossible year.

Students facing the biggest barriers to higher education *and* to other destinations dependent on grades were hit hardest

The algorithm used to 'adjust' grades was baked in bias + prejudice. It *must* be made public

We need to know how it was created. We must ensure nothing like it is used again

It is indicative of problems devouring the heart of our education sector⬇️

Aug 11, 2020 8 tweets 6 min read
Solidarity with live events workers day of action today! Livelihoods decimated by #coronavirus, many workers left with zero financial support. These skilled workers behind the scenes make live events happen. Support #WeMakeEvents #RedAlert #LetTheMusicPlay #LightItInRed Demos today in London, Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, more! Venues will be lit up in red. The UK government has failed to support industries still unable to open by law, so the entire supply chain & its workers set to collapse. Culture is made by workers! #WeMakeEvents
Apr 15, 2020 13 tweets 5 min read
Major concerns at Durham! Rushed plan (no consultation with UCU/students!) to radically change teaching beyond #Covid19: 25% reduction of modules, outsourcing, online learning without due regard to pedagogical objectives... some coverage here:… @ucuatdurham Serious kudos to members on the ground + @ucuatdurham for moving rapidly to challenge this - with a 180-strong online EGM meeting in very difficult circumstances, following pressure that's already resulted in pushing back the date Senate. But *real* consultation is required here!
Mar 14, 2020 11 tweets 8 min read
The BMA's position tells us something.👇
Yesterday @UCU NEC passed serious motions + members have been asking for more detail - some require advice on wording before going to member but I'm pasting the rest on #Covid19 below. Emergency Motion 1 @rorfitelli: On @UCU VP election+need for electronic hustings, bc well-informed democracy still matters even in a pandemic (an adapted version of @sheffielducu's motion that's been timed off the agenda from 2 Congresses now, it could have already been in place)
Mar 14, 2020 15 tweets 8 min read
Frightening front page: we've gone swiftly from "take it on the chin, no cruises" to "death industry overwhelmed", lack of "body storage", powers for police + immigration officials to detain people who *might* be infected, yet testing remains slow + patchy
#Covid19 /1 Powers for *police + immigration officials* to detain people suspected of having the virus yet we aren't investing in a proper testing regime. Risks of reinforcing bigotry and inciting further racist violence, while scientists tell us we need the data to inform responses /2
Mar 12, 2020 7 tweets 3 min read
We *have* to do all we can to ensure casualised workers get paid whether work is cancelled / they have to distance/self isolate. Cannot get out of my head how bad this will be for hourly paid + zero hours workers; self-employed indies will struggle a lot too. #Covid19 #Precarity Thinking about #UCUStrikes: this situation highlights SO MUCH of why we're on strike for decent & fair pay + conditions + fair pensions. Huge overwhelming workload + burnout + pressures of precarity + inequality endanger us + our students even before there's a #Covid19 pandemic
Mar 6, 2020 12 tweets 5 min read
Mini 'explainer' thread #UCUstrikes: how will @UCU decide re offers?

Understandably members have a lot of Qs about this!

Key point: We're negotiating intensely hard over proposals. Significant progress is being driven by the strength of our (historic!) industrial action! /1 [Interlude to note once again it's a disgrace that it takes industrial action - esp on this scale - to be heard on issues of basic decency...
And how ✊truly epic, determined + creative ✊ @UCU members are...
#UCUStrikes work!]
Nov 27, 2019 11 tweets 7 min read
Yesterday 4 JNCHES (#FourFights) negotiators and @UCU's Head of HE met UCEA. That UCEA met us is down to the strength of our ballot results + absolutely massive strike action currently underway. We need to *hold the line* and *grow* this action: it's *effective* /1 #UCUstrike We spent ~2.5 hours with UCEA articulating all four grounds of dispute very fully, making clear how interconnected they are, and why it is so vital we turn this increasingly toxic sector (which *should* be so different, so open and inspiring to work within) around. #UCUstrike /2
Feb 22, 2019 7 tweets 4 min read
Just came out of Democracy Commission to obv crushing news. Would be easy to descend into doom. Just remember that’s what Tories wanted their 50% shitty threshold to do. They want us demoralised. Resist! We have a lot to assess + do. We need to build. We need resources to do it/1 A lot of us did a lot of work on GTVO. We’re knackered. We reached a lot of ppl+got strong YES result. What can we learn+do? Must reflect+organise together at every level. How can we boost creative ideas like those at HESC in November and reach more ppl? Eg ntnl phonebanking? /2
Feb 21, 2019 15 tweets 8 min read
Thanks everyone @UCU_Ulster who made overcoming tech issues possible! Really great questions on REF, #Anticas and #SecureWork, #Workload + academic & academic related & professional staff contracts (#LoveOurARPS!)/1 The stuff that came up about role profiles for academic related+professional staff roles is partially covered…
^Academic role profiles+guidance were agreed through JNCHES (AUT days, pre-UCU). ARPS role profiles weren't quite prioritised in same way /2
Feb 17, 2019 11 tweets 7 min read
Been thinking about a conversation last night at a dear friend’s birthday party with several academics in attendance, wrt GTVO, the current ballot for #securework #equalpay #fairpayinhe+ fair #workload & #defendUSS: important messages we need to get out there before too late! /1 Fundamentally we all need to understand *any* ballot result we get on any issue affects our bargaining power in *all* other areas. I don’t think this point can’t be hammered home enough. Casualised colleagues who don’t yet qualify for #USS came out in number bc they got this /2
Feb 11, 2019 18 tweets 8 min read
There's been relatively little discussion about Brexit at @ucu VP hustings. This is likely because of our collective levels of despair, and ferocity of views held, but we as a union MUST be on top of the issues as strongly as possible. Here are my thoughts ⬇ /1 Thanks to @alvaromp for the question - I hope to be able to talk more to him and others in person about this (and more) at remaining hustings!
(List:…) /2
Nov 7, 2018 27 tweets 9 min read
.@ucu HESCs on Pay+Equality (am)&USS JEP(pm) were intense! Lots decided after v intense complicated discussions but only morning decisions “count”- USS conference advisory as (sadly) inquorate. Those motions get referred 2 HEC as advisory but also advise negotiatiors this week /1 @ucu *🚿Shower and re-humanify interlude after a LONG day indoors at the (sadly) today unexplored @sim_manchester museum + trains. #unionstrong reps function better after 🚿☕️...*
Nov 2, 2018 25 tweets 6 min read
Thread on yesterday's #UCU Higher Education Committee (HEC), esp UK-wide Pay+Equality dispute + potential next steps. Making efforts to de-jargonify + de-acronym it, but recommend @Rachellaracohen's #USSbriefs23 to understand structures if confused… /1 Y’day’s HEC was another packed schedule for 11-430 meeting. Attendance hit by Thur scheduling (unfortunate but probably unavoidable). Loads of important work + pressing Pay+Equality ballot + USS dispute. For the latter 2 we were considering motions to send to the 7 Nov HESCs /2
Nov 2, 2018 8 tweets 2 min read
[HEC thread link: Part 2] If reballoting this round, must ensure we know where to target + improve GTVO + how we connect with each other over:
- what the ballot is about
- why voting at all matters so much
- why we recommend voting yes
It will take a lot of work, which we can do -but need v good Plan /25
Jun 1, 2018 21 tweets 10 min read
30 min suspension of #UCU18 is up. National Head of Democratic Services (staff member) has come back (not elected President) to tell us staff not willing to come back in yet: we've been told Congress cannot continue. Bedlam now as ppl work out if absent chair can be challenged >> Being argued rules allow for #UCU2018 Congress2continue in these circs but mics are off. Impossible to hear properly. Also being proposed can't have proper Congress now, so could have a discussion about what's going on instead. Counterargument "Go Congress or go home" 🤦🏻‍♀️
Jun 1, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
Disco nice now fretting about #ucu2018 tmw. Anticipate we'll kick off with trade dispute issue. If we "can't" debate motions ruled onto agenda by CBC that Congress decided already it wants to debate b/c walkout, that's bad. If can't get through countless other motions also bad.>> >>Also bad: being in trade dispute at all, esp as TU. There *MUST* be a way through that doesn't necessitate even more polarisation + even more (frequently wrong) insinuations about this or that grouping/faction/party that or this person/motion might be linked to+what might mean
May 31, 2018 9 tweets 4 min read
Here is pic of UCU/Unite JNC (Joint Negotiating Committee) statement that's been given out to #ucu2018 delegates to look at before tmw. NEC majority voted for it. I didn't. I'm not in a faction. I recognise Unite's concerns about due process but also NEC duty to uphold democracy> See also this chunk of thread for other thoughts I have about the mess we are in at #UCU2018:
May 31, 2018 7 tweets 3 min read
If anyone is seeking the UCU rules to pore over - they're here: (NB regions and branches also have rules agreed locally based on model rules agreed at previous congresses) #UCU2018 (To pre-empt confusion re bits on student members: if you = student working in UCU-able work (eg teaching) you qualify for free full membership under PG membership offer. If a student not working in UCU bargaining remit = 'student member' (also free but not full voting member.)