The UCU Scottish Congress took place in Edinburgh on March 23rd with full involvement of representatives from GCU and with a keynote address given by Education Minister Mike Russell.
In contrast to last year’s Congress when GCU members spoke, but did not present motions, almost one third of the motions at Congress this year were from the GCU branch with all GCU motions passed unanimously after a vigorous debate. These were on University Governance, GCU London, INTO, and on the implications of the GCU Staff survey.
Branch reps also took full part in the debates on Scotland’s Constitutional Future, and also on an emergency motion on the next steps in the fight to save all our pensions. John Biggam, branch Health and Safety rep, also introduced and led a session on Health and Safety at work.
The branch mounted an exhibition showing the posters, leaflets, and other materials produced over the past year, and also had a iPhoto slideshow of the years activity.
Opening Congress, a keynote speech was given by Mike Russell, the Education Minister, who announced he was keen on strong partnership working with the UCU and others. Amongst the points that Mike Russell put to congress, was the government’s belief that the existing four year degree was not a weakness, but a strength, and had to remain the cornerstone of what the Government offered.
He also addressed Congress on a range of issues, and answered questions on various topics including GCU London.
On Governance, the minister announced broad support for the two recent reviews which he wanted to take forward, so that Governance was ‘Fit for purpose, accountable, and where Governors fulfilled their roles. When questioned on conditions at ‘satellite’ institutions linked to Scottish based universities, he declared that he would expect Scottish universities to be ‘a beacon of equality and good treatment, in terms of conditions at these institutions’.
A copy of the Glasgow Caledonian UCU bulletin about the congress can be downloaded here.