This isn’t quite what I was expecting to write as my first post, but this appeared in my feed from the Manchester Trades Council this morning and requires urgent action.
Christine Vié is the vice chair of the MMU UCU branch and NEC member, and was recently given compulsory redundancy as part of a reorganisation of her course and the closure of the Department of Combined Honours and Foundation Degrees. It’s the first compulsory redundancy of an academic since MMU received university status in 1992. It’s certainly another worrying development, especially for someone about to re-enter the world of academia hopefully long-term.
Christine, who has been a lecturer at MMU for 20 years, is the only one of nine colleagues for whom this is happening – with management claiming that retraining is “not reasonable”, on the back of celebrating the receipt of a Gold Standard in the ‘Investors in People’ Awards. She’s also the only UCU rep among those nine.
For UCU this is a clear case of victimisation and the branch are calling for a ballot for industrial action:
It is the belief of your branch committee that this may be nothing less than victimization of a trade union activist. If she is forced out she will no longer be able to help build our UCU Branch, defend UCU members in casework or play a key role in our current campaigns. We believe that this is an attack on our union.
Christine has indeed been a tireless organiser at her branch for many years, and has held a senior position there for over 10. I interviewed her almost a year ago to the day on a picket line on the morning of the J30 strike. She said at the time:
”This is a fight that we must win and we will win. It’s an attack on our pension but it’s not just our pension – by attacking our pensions they are attacking our jobs, they’re also attacking education and that’s our main problem. As lecturers and teachers education is our life, and by attacking education they are attacking young people and they are attacking this country.”
It certainly seems like MMU are now targeting her and that she needs our support and solidarity.
You can send messages of support to Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org and register your protests with Vice Chancellor John Brooks at email@example.com (copy Christine into those emails).
Sign the UCU petition here which is now approaching 2,000 names. There is a lobby of the board of governors at 9am on Friday 29 June at the Ormond Building, next to All Saints Park on Oxford Road.