Lesley Francey distinguishes herself from her opponent by saying she will stay focused on the industrial issues.
Lesley is a working class Scottish migrant, who has worked in over 30 jobs since she was 13.
Much of her candidate statement talks about two of union’s two major pieces of work over the last two years, Te Kaupapa Whaioranga and the State of the Sector survey.
However, when talking to her you get a sense that these have been distractions from her real passion – fighting for the rights of casual and insecure workers.
Talking about Te Kaupapa Whaioranga and the State of the Sector survey she says ‘it was incumbent on me to continue them to completion’.
“My own priorities were to address the issues of insecure work and the [falling] membership numbers as a result of the constant rounds of reviews and restructuring.”
When asked about her most significant achievement within TEU, Lesley’s first instinct is to talk about her time as branch president at MIT.
“I reinvigorated the branch and put in place a very solid delegate structure, which led to increased recruitment and involvement.”
Lesley says if she had been president during Sandra’s term she would have focused more on industrial issues rather than aspirational issues. She cites the cuts to level 1 and 2 funding as an instance where the union was ‘caught on the back foot’.
Lesley says Sandra’s focus was geared toward the sector where she came from rather than having a broad view of the membership.
“I believe every member has an equal voice regardless of their employment status or the size of the branch they come from.”
“Aspirational goals are essential but because of the shrinking sector and our diminishing membership numbers our priority must be recruitment of new members and the protection of jobs.”
When asked how to do this Lesley says the union continues to challenge the reviews and redundancies, but is confined in what it can achieve.
“Ultimately there is only so much you can do.”
She wants to dedicate more resources and strategic planning into branches to focus on recruiting new members.
Lesley says because she is a mother with children in tertiary education she can see tertiary education from a student’s perspective.
“I get the grumbles and moans from my kids and I can relate them to the work their tutors and lecturers are doing.”