United we stand 1

May 18, 2007

Robert Lockie is quite mistaken about the University and College Union and Unite Against Fascism.

UCU would agree that the British National Party is a "repulsive fascist group" (Letters, May 11). We are affiliated to Unite because it is the most active and broadly supported organisation campaigning against the BNP. Its founding supporters include MPs from across the political spectrum as well as many trade unions. We support Unite not because the Socialist Workers Party (or anyone else) says we should but because the democratically elected conferences of both our predecessor unions voted to do so.

Officers of this union (including myself and Sally Hunt) are therefore entitled to draw our members' attention to the frequently violent consequences of BNP activity and to the goals of the organisation, which are contrary to the aspirations of the overwhelming majority of those in higher education, including apparently Lockie himself.

Unite is not a front organisation for any political party, and it would be most unfortunate if sectarianism were to stand in the way of a common campaign. All those who detest fascism should unite in opposing its latter-day adherents and focus our energy on that task, not on criticising those who assist a campaign that is entirely compatible with our goals as an education union and with our rule book.

If Lockie wishes the UCU to affiliate to other campaigns as well, he is, of course, as entitled as any other member to seek to change union policy.

Roger Kline
Head of equality and employment rights, University and College Union

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