UCU’s national executive committee have issued the following statement following the referendum on EU membership:
“The vote to leave the EU has created a political earthquake.
The referendum was marred by disgraceful racism and scaremongering over immigration by figures on both sides of the official campaigns and of course by the tragic death of Jo Cox MP.
However millions of people have voted to leave the EU as a direct result of years of austerity and economic decline.
The UCU rejects any attempt to use the ‘Leave’ vote to impose further austerity measures.
Post 16 education is already under attack, we will fight any attempt at further cuts as a result of the referendum.
We will determinedly oppose any attempt by politicians to use the vote to restrict the rights of migrant workers and refugees and reaffirm our Congress commitment to supporting EU students and staff in UK institutions.
On 5 July teachers will be striking against attacks on education and will be joined by our members in HE who have elected to strike on that day. We will mobilise as a union to back their strikes and protests on the day.
We support the mobilisation called by the People’s Assembly against austerity at the Tory Party conference on 2 October”
The General Secretary, Sally Hunt, has sent the following letter to all members:
Members will have differing views on the result of last Thursday’s referendum on EU membership.
However what is not in doubt is that the UK now faces a period of considerable economic and political uncertainty. That uncertainty extends into the places where UCU members work in three main ways.
First, in practical concerns about the loss of funding for projects within or related to universities and colleges supported by the European Union.
Second, in the impact of the referendum result upon government policy. For example, there is now speculation that the apprenticeship levy from which many colleges hoped to benefit may be postponed or scrapped.
Third, in a sector with a highly international workforce which itself teaches a diverse student body, the impact upon staff and students themselves.
I have therefore this morning written to the UK secretary of state with responsibility for further and higher education and UCU will be making contact too with the devolved administrations seeking some clarity in these three areas on behalf of members.
The referendum campaign has produced a rising tide of racism and hostility to migrant communities, as well as a worrying trend of anti-intellectualism (‘who needs experts?’ and so on). In the face of this universities and colleges have a vital role to play in fighting racism and intolerance and in continuing to promote the benefits of education to both the individual and society as a whole. In short we must stand up for our staff and students and celebrate education for all rather than hide away until the storm passes.
UCU for its part will continue to pursue these values in line with a statement agreed by the National Executive Committee last Friday which you can read here.
UCU general secretary”