UNISON will not be gagged, higher education branches hear at seminar

Branch delegates gather to discuss strategic concerns of higher education workers, including the government Trade Union Bill

UNISON will not be gagged and every one of the union’s activists and members will fight against the government’s vicious trade union laws, higher education chair Denise Ward declared as she opened the service group’s branch seminar.

Ms Ward, who chairs the service group executive, condemned the government’s Trade Union Bill, its systematic removal of workers’ rights and introduction of tribunal fees which lock working people out of justice.

With the seminar meeting just a week before the 2 November mass lobby of MPs on the bill, she told delegates: “The trade union movement was born from struggle, and we may have our backs against the wall, but we will all come out fighting.”

The seminar was focused on providing a strategic overview of the key issues affecting UNISON members and all workers in higher education.

As well as the Trade Union Bill, discussions covered cuts to higher and further education funding, cuts to student grants, increases in loans to students and calls for the right to free education to be extended across the UK.

Speakers included UCU general secretary Sally Hunt, Sorana Vieru, the National Union of Students vice president for higher edcuation, UNISON NEC and STUC women’s committee member Davena Rankin and UNISON national secretary Jon Richards.