Saira on a protest marching through Liverpool (Picture: Bee Hughes)

 
Saira Weiner, a socialist and UCU Left member who is standing to be the general secretary of the UCU union, will be a break from union leaders who bypass and suppress union democracy. 
 
Last weekend Saira released a strong statement in solidarity with Palestine. 
 
She wrote that “Broad campaigning and a mass movement are the best basis for us to protect academic freedom and free speech on Israel”.
 
She called on workers to make 7 February “a day of solidarity and disruption for Palestine.” 
 
Saira’s commitment to building Palestine solidarity within the workplace sets her apart from the other candidates running for general secretary. 
 
They are Vicky Blake from the University of Leeds, Ewan McGaughey from King’s College London and Jo Grady, the current general secretary. 
 
Blake is considered a more “respectable” left candidate in the elections. But her politics over questions like Palestine put her at odds with sections of the union. 
 
In her manifesto, she writes that the UCU should replicate a meeting between the Israeli group Standing Together and the FBU union. 
 
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (Pacbi) recently called for activists not to engage with Standing Together as it “seeks to distract from and whitewash Israel’s genocide in Gaza.”
 
Grady has effectively sabotaged and undermined disputes in higher and further education for almost five years and has weakened union democracy.
 
Saira is offering something new. Vote for Saira for a union led by rank and file workers and for unwavering support for Palestine.
 

Saira is part of the general secretary hustings on Thu 1 Feb, 12.30pm-2pm. To register go to tinyurl.com/gensechustings 
Read her manifesto at saira4GS.wordpress.com

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