avatar
The Heckler: combined university unions magazine


In the UK, the University of Portsmouth unions — UCU (academic), UNISON (staff) and UPSU (students) — have combined to produce a magazine for University members as well as public sector workers and service-users more generally. One commentator described it as a 'mix of Socialist Worker and Woman's Own'. It may at least be an expression of what Hilary Wainwright called the 'new trade unionism', reaching beyond workplace issues into civil society. From its Portsmouth base, it has grown into other universities, colleges and public-sector organizations in the region and further afield.    

Highlights of general interest in Edition 1 (autumn 2010) include John Molyneux on university democracy and Roger Welch on the UK's prohibitive laws against industrial action.  

Edition 2 (winter 2011) is much expanded and includes:

  • Rosie Bergonzi's experience of police kettling 
  • Simon Stewart on the myth of the squeezed middle
  • John Denham, MP and former Secretary of State, and Murad Banaji on the Browne Review and university fees
  • Kevin White on threats to university access
  • Dave Fysh on why we don't have to accept the cuts and Steve Davies on how unions should respond to them
  • Tom Hickey on the big pensions sting
  • Roger Welch on line managers and Rosemary Jane on workloads
  • Life on the front line: an NHS GP, a nurse and a student welfare officer report
  • Ian McCann on Polish Solidarity and Brian Lunn on the crisis in Ireland
  • David Sherren on Soviet plans for Portsmouth
  • Martin Giddey on preparing for retirement and Beverley Clack on becoming an unlikely trade union activist
  • Debbi Richards' parking problems and Eric Degreef's green solutions to them
  • Jon Adams' art of dyslexia and Jacqui Mair's art of collage
  • Dave Jenkins on being mysterious and Alida Bedford on being plain decent
  • Plus an exclusive interview with the Vice-Chancellor of Bogsville People's University, Professor Clive Sharpe-Praktiss . . .  

Further contributions of interest to an education and public services audience are welcome for consideration, especially in the following inter-connected areas:

  • The politics and policies of (higher) education and the public services 
  • Health, welfare and personal development at work
  • Gender, dignity and equality 
  • Research, scholarship and academic freedom
  • International issues and solidarity

Please send any articles of fewer than 1000 words, art-works or poems to louise.allen@port.ac.uk.  

Leave a comment