Academic freedom and privatisation in higher education, trade unions’ future, and solidarity - at the forefront of UCU Congress


Over the course of three days in May, participants of the annual Congress of the University and College Union (UCU) in Brighton, discussed many important issues concerning not only further and higher education and state education policies, but also issues of equality, free movement, climate change, and of course, the future of education trade unions and loss of their memberships. Trade unionists also called to campaign against the repression of university teachers, journalists, and politicians in Turkey and commented on the French elections by warning about the growth of racism and islamophobia in Europe. In one of the carried motions, the UCU condemned the attack on the Central European University from legislation passed by the Hungarian government.

The Congress was rather critical of the UK government’s education policies, noting significantly increased tuition fees, 50 percent cuts in the adult education budget, introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework, and other evidence of privatisation in higher and further education. Together with increasing public investment in education, the participants demanded to expand the apprenticeship system in the UK and to ensure academic freedom.

Addressing the future of education trade unions, Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary, stated: “Our task is to transform the union. To build capacity and to deliver for members. To make joining the union the norm and not the exception.

To read more about the UCU Congress, please click here.