The University and College Union's national executive committee (NEC) recently confirmed that it is about to conduct five separate ballots in higher and further education institutions over jobs, pensions and pay ("System 'shutdown'? Protesters see chance as UCU ballots over strike action", 20 January). Far from being in turmoil, as has been claimed, the NEC has resoundingly demonstrated that its commitment to united action against our employers takes precedence over everything else. Nothing will distract us from focusing on our real enemies - those seeking to undermine our ability to provide education for all.
The UCU is playing a major role in the developing movement against education cuts. It is working with the National Union of Students, the wider trade union movement and grass-roots student networks to make the demonstrations in London and Manchester on 29 January and the Trades Union Congress March for the Alternative on 26 March as successful as possible.
Strike ballots, it is true, will run in parallel to some internal UCU elections. But it is the former that will determine the future of our union, our jobs and our sector. The UCU's proven capacity to unite as one in defence of education is the real story of what is happening in this union, not lurid tales of reds under the bed. The pantomime season is over: now is the time to demonstrate in practice that unity is not just a word, but the most powerful weapon we possess.
Jim Wolfreys, Gargi Bhattacharyya, Gavin Reid, Liz Lawrence, Ron Mendel, Alison Gander, Angie McConnell, Stephen Desmond, Laura Miles, Sean Vernell, Tom Hickey, Richard McEwan, Mark Campbell, Lesley Kane, Jim Thakoordin, Christine Vie, John Murphy, Alan Barker, Karen Evans, Marion Hersh, Jane Hardy, Malcolm Povey, Maeve Landman, Alison Lord, James Eaden, Dave Gibson, Jean Crocker, David Armstrong, Craig Lewis (29 UCU NEC members).