Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #UCUstrikes

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Catch up of EU legal news after the latest round of #ucustrikes action

1/ Home Office decides not to appeal ruling against it re status of EU citizens in the UK
2/ EU Member States' representatives agree that EU should become party to Istanbul Convention on violence against women

3/ European Parliament votes for legislation setting up a framework for EU response to UK breach of Brexit treaties - likely to be formally adopted soon

(Any interest in a blog post explaining this law?)
Read 9 tweets
1/6 I just received an email from my emplyer which started "As you may be aware, the University Mental Health day is on 3 March and it is widely known that physical activity can provide us with benefits to both our physical and mental health.". This is my reply:
2/6 Dear colleague,

It is widely known that secure employment, fair pay, equality at work, and decent pensions can provide us with benefits to our physical and mental health. It is further known that receiving email from my employer telling me to go for a walk or a bike ride ...
3/6 just a week after they voted to cut my pension by 35%, sends my cortisol levels and blood pressure through the roof, with detrimental effects on both my physical and mental health.

I don’t appreciate it. I was angry already and this has made me angrier. I feel tempted to ...
Read 6 tweets
The UUK 'strategic guide' on staff-student sexual misconduct is published today, during #UCU strike action which we are participating in.

We sat on the advisory group for developing this guidance. Here is our public statement. TL;DR we are disappointed.…
This guidance from Universities UK has been a long time coming. While there is some helpful and important material in the forthcoming practical guide, overall this guidance represents a missed opportunity.
It prioritises retaining the status quo over asking universities to make real change, and it is contradictory, by recommending clear professional boundaries while still allowing sexual relationships between staff and students.
Read 12 tweets
Since universities’ refusal to maintain staff pensions at USS universities, I’ve seen a lot of angry posts from academics saying that their good will is all used up. This is bad news for everyone: here’s why. #UCUstrikes #OneOfUsAllOfUs #USSmess #FourFights (1/9)
The intended and obvious victims are university managers, who rely on ‘good will’ aka ‘going above and beyond’ aka ‘vocation’ to have the workforce, from PhD student teaching a single seminar group to esteemed professor, working evenings and weekends, year in, year out. (2/9)
I’ve known professors working on books on Christmas Day. Senior staff who only get to emails at weekends. Staff on 1-year contracts spending every Saturday reading books they need to teach next week. Teaching-only staff on sick leave writing lectures for their return. (3/9)
Read 9 tweets
I have been in HE on short term contracts for 10 years. During that time I have learnt how #precarity in academia is used to advance the careers of highly ambitious senior academics. Here are few insights #UCUstrikes 1/
Some highly ambitious academics pick the brightest and the best post-docs and researchers & then offload their responsibilities on to them. While these researchers remain precariously employed, more responsibility and pressure can be offloaded #FourFights 2/
Precariously employed researchers have no ‘workload management models’, no ‘study leave’, no ‘promotion rounds’, no permanent offices. They are dependent on the patronage and good will of senior and permanently employed academics. #FourFights 3/
Read 6 tweets
A short 🧵on my feelings due to my pension being slashed by almost half by @USSEmployers @UniversitiesUK. It's an act of violence. The cuts will have an impact like no other seen before. We pay huge sums of our salary to a scheme whose managers act against us. #UCUstrikes
The valuation, which was based on an outlier timepoint, was obviously flawed as many experts have shown. And yet, instead of reconsidering, they pushed forward. Despite an alternative proposal by @ucu described by many as viable.
To me thid move doesn't show ignorance, it shows intention. And this is the worst part. They are genuinely trying to destroy the sector and staff's morale.
Read 12 tweets
The segment in the @BBC feature below is taken from a longish interview @BBCChrisMorris recorded with me about #Russia #sanctions last week. I don’t blame journalists or producers but worth mentioning that perhaps due to editorial issues it omitted the following (see thread):
1) That I began by saying this was an opportune moment to discuss #sanctions against #Russia. I was on strike supporting #UCUStrikes and colleagues on precarious contracts and protesting against #USS pension cuts.
2) That I thought the Lincoln's Inn Fields backdrop of striking #UCUStrikes LSE campus was symbolic. Some of the things I said were:
Read 9 tweets
Let's talk about precarity and the UK higher education sector. 🧵 #UCUStrikes @LSE_UCU
One of the outcomes of being precariously employed is a fear of calling out unjust working conditions. I’m one of the ‘lucky’ ones, now on a more permanent contract. I want to share my experiences of what being precarious feels like, since others may feel they can’t.
1. Precarity forces overwork. You do all the things: The things you have to: Teaching, publications, service, admin, pastoral support. And the things you don’t have to: Evening events, extra pastoral support, advocacy, extra office hours, …
Read 19 tweets
I was really upset to read yesterday's @ucu email from @DrJoGrady. It's not okay to ask colleagues to 'create work for your manager'. Managers too are tired. Managers too are overloaded. Most are working really hard to support colleagues in difficult circumstances.
I'm all for exhorting members to talk to their managers. If people are struggling (or even if they aren't) constructive, supportive conversations about workloads are essential. And I welcome the chance to report the unsustainability of workloads to more senior colleagues.
But to suggest that this is something retributive or to be done out of spite -- to suggest that members should actively seek to make life more difficult for colleagues and fellow @ucu members -- is totally and fundamentally against the spirit of the #ucustrikes.
Read 3 tweets
"we have an enormous task ahead of us" - Anshuman Mondal introducing the @EnglishAssoc @IES_London @uniofeastanglia @UnivEnglish @PSA_poco Establishing a Decolonising Network seminar online now -->…
First up, Surya Simon and Arzhang Pezhman, UEA, on their work to develop a grassroots decolonising network, which aims "to remain a disruptive force while effecting embedded, sustainable institutional change" #decoloniseenglish
Followed by Dr Asha Rogers & @DrFarihaShaikh, Uni of Birmingham, on establishing a decolonising network there- holding workshops, establishing effective peer support, keeping things local & departmental to increase influence, bringing in students & alumni #decoloniseenglish
Read 23 tweets
I'll mostly be staying at home over the coming days, but we can still support our local businesses. Yesterday we got wine and cheese from the brilliant @graceandjameskh -- I am sure if someone rings ahead with a budget + wish list they can prepare an order for pickup.
They also own the excellent POLI next door, which does a takeout service. If, like us, you want to make sure these two brilliant businesses are still standing at the end of this, maybe order wine/beer from G+J and a pizza from Poli to pick up this eve
Other fantastic businesses to try and support include @artefact_bham -- brilliant coffee (incl. takeout) and let's not forget how wonderful they were to us during #ucustrikes. @loafonline is a wonderful cooperative bakery w. strict hygiene protocols. Pick your bread up there.
Read 7 tweets
The BMA's position tells us something.👇
Yesterday @UCU NEC passed serious motions + members have been asking for more detail - some require advice on wording before going to member but I'm pasting the rest on #Covid19 below.
Emergency Motion 1 @rorfitelli: On @UCU VP election+need for electronic hustings, bc well-informed democracy still matters even in a pandemic (an adapted version of @sheffielducu's motion that's been timed off the agenda from 2 Congresses now, it could have already been in place)
EM 2 @mark_pendleton + amendment (me): Response to COVID-19 (both passed)
Calls on GS to write to all HEIs + colleges urging closure + safeguarding pay + wellbeing of *all* staff
Note typographical errors: points b + c + d are sub-points of a, for the GS letter. See next tweet>>
Read 11 tweets
Frightening front page: we've gone swiftly from "take it on the chin, no cruises" to "death industry overwhelmed", lack of "body storage", powers for police + immigration officials to detain people who *might* be infected, yet testing remains slow + patchy
#Covid19 /1
Powers for *police + immigration officials* to detain people suspected of having the virus yet we aren't investing in a proper testing regime. Risks of reinforcing bigotry and inciting further racist violence, while scientists tell us we need the data to inform responses /2
Relationships between how our government, media, and our own employers treat expertise are worth examining closely in the #Covid19 media context...
Which science? Which data? Which analysis?
How long and for whom do they wait before ceasing attempts to "agile" game a pandemic /3
Read 15 tweets
We *have* to do all we can to ensure casualised workers get paid whether work is cancelled / they have to distance/self isolate. Cannot get out of my head how bad this will be for hourly paid + zero hours workers; self-employed indies will struggle a lot too. #Covid19 #Precarity
Thinking about #UCUStrikes: this situation highlights SO MUCH of why we're on strike for decent & fair pay + conditions + fair pensions. Huge overwhelming workload + burnout + pressures of precarity + inequality endanger us + our students even before there's a #Covid19 pandemic
So many precarious HE workers are *terrified* +urgently need reassurance from employers they won't be left penniless +/or homeless by #Covid19 sickness/isolation/distancing detriment.
'Move all online' won't cover everyone+wfh won't be viable for ppl who need to keep kids at home
Read 7 tweets
We have what is supposedly a 'global market for talented leaders' to serve as highly-paid VCs in UK universities. Their response to the @ucu strikes has again shown why we should be highly sceptical of the claimed talent of our current HE leaders. /1
a) They now tell us that they failed to budget for staff pay rising in line with inflation - an absolutely fundamental part of any sensible employer's financial planning. /2
b) They have led their institutions to become so dependent on a single overseas student market that coronavirus' temporary impact on IELTS testing in China endangers the very financial future of their organisations. /3…
Read 7 tweets
Mini 'explainer' thread #UCUstrikes: how will @UCU decide re offers?

Understandably members have a lot of Qs about this!

Key point: We're negotiating intensely hard over proposals. Significant progress is being driven by the strength of our (historic!) industrial action! /1
[Interlude to note once again it's a disgrace that it takes industrial action - esp on this scale - to be heard on issues of basic decency...
And how ✊truly epic, determined + creative ✊ @UCU members are...
#UCUStrikes work!]
NB Proposals are not formal offers, though proposal documents may *become* offers.

UCU negotiators have made proposals we believe could resolve both disputes. Employers could resolve both #UCUStrikes with decent offers

🚨NOTE it'll be *members* who *decide* on any offer(s)
Read 12 tweets
•Russell Group "must show leadership" on casualisation to avoid reputational damage
•Casual contracts affect students’ learning & health of staff
•Russell Group at odds with its own negotiators over how to deal with problems & resolve #UCUStrikes…
Jo Grady said: 'This shows how divided universities are when it comes to dealing with the issues at the heart of the strikes. It looks like it is fear of reputational damage, rather than concern for staff or students, that has prompted universities to act on casualisation.
'Our message to all university vice-chancellors is simple: speak out. Make it clear to the people negotiating on your behalf that you want them to do more to deal with the key issues in these disputes.' #UCUStrikesBack #UCUStrike #FourFights
Read 3 tweets
It’s day 2 in the #ucustrike #fourfights Trump Card factory. After our mucking around yesterday went 🍌, we’re reworking the cards already made to clarify that no *comparative* institutional BAME pay gap data seems to be available, and publishing plenty more. Watch this thread 👇
OK, here we go. Here's the slightly revised printout for cards 1-8 for @BirminghamUCU @sussexucu @ExeterUCU London Business School (no UCU?) @UCUBath @SouthamptonUCU @ImperialUCU [right logo this time!] & @OxfordUCU
@BirminghamUCU @sussexucu @ExeterUCU @UCUBath @SouthamptonUCU @ImperialUCU @OxfordUCU And here's the slightly revised printout for cards 9-16 for @KCL_UCU @uelucu @LSE_UCU @CambridgeUCU @NewcastleUniUCU @UM_UCU @CardiffUCU & @UCL_UCU The pack will grow today, 8 cards at a time. If your branch is playing the game next week, let us know & we'll include your card 😘
Read 6 tweets
Thank you to @RLong_Bailey for taking the time to record a message of solidarity to our striking members. #Solidarity #UoBStrikes #UCUStrikesBack #UCUStrikes
Thanks also to @UniteWestMids members for donating to our strike fund. Your generosity will allowi our low paid and precarious members to continue the fight for pay, pensions and fair working conditions! ✊… #Solidarity #UoBStrike #UCUStrikesBack #UCUStrike
@UniteWestMids Special thank you to @bcu_ucu activist @illdoitanyway for making this happen 😺. Amazing solidarity between UCU branches
Read 3 tweets
So here we are - another wave of #ucustrikes I am one of the lucky ones, recently promoted to a permanent post and doing work I really care about, both in teaching and research. I really want to be getting on with that instead. But I also want to 1/
know that my brilliant colleagues currently on fixed-term contracts can escape the stress and uncertainty of precarious working conditions. I want people to stop feeling that they have to work well beyond the hours they are paid and I want to 2/
stop watching people get ill from the stress. I want pay to be equal and in line with inflation and I want to be able to rely on a decent pension when I retire. I want people to feel rewarded for spending time with students rather than entering 3/
Read 4 tweets
Back on the picket lines today, both in the real world & the digital one.

Why are university staff striking? Well...

#UCUstrikes thread
There are many reasons why ppl are striking including stagnant wages, huge cuts to the pension, the gender pay gap & lack of BAME employees, but I am personally striking for the workload & the use of causal contracts.
For now, I now have a full time, permanent contact. I am able to strike & speak out for those who aren’t. Almost every university puts lecturers on short term, zero hours contracts. 68% of research staff in higher education are on fixed term contracts.
Read 18 tweets
Tune in to @LBC now to hear @DrJoGrady talk to @NickFerrariLBC - live from the @UCUSOAS picket line! #UCUstrike
.@DrJoGrady: this isn't just about professors and lecturers - these strikes are for the staff earning less than minimum wage for the work they do. Senior managers are relying on a 'goodwill economy' that is running out #UCUstrikes
.@DrJoGrady: salary is just one small aspect of the #UCUstrike: we are taking action against precarity, unsustainable workloads, and unfair pay gaps.
Read 3 tweets
As UK academics prepare to go on strike this week, I ask all of you to remember a few things about what our jobs have become. #UCUstrikes 1/11
First, academia is rarely a 9-5 job. Academics are typically expected to work extremely long hours, work over weekends, and catch up on reading, marking, and of course research, they've missed during holidays. 2/11
I've not encountered any other sector in which workers have internalised this drive to work above and beyond what is contractually required. Universities get so much more work out of us than they pay for. Despite this, they continue to cut our pay and devalue our pensions. 3/11
Read 11 tweets
UCU has written to UCEA today in relation to the pay and equalities dispute, outlining our disappointment at the employers’ letter of 5 December which stated they are unwilling to reopen negotiations on pay.…

#UCUstrikes #UCUasos #fourfights
Today’s letter reaffirms UCU’s position that all four elements of the dispute – pay, casualisation, workload and equality pay gaps – need to be meaningfully addressed for the dispute to be resolved.
#UCUstrikes #UCUasos #fourfights
We have confirmed that we are willing to meet UCEA again on 17 December for further negotiations. We encourage employers to provide UCEA with a mandate to make an offer that substantively engages with each element of our claim.
#UCUstrikes #UCUasos #fourfights
Read 3 tweets

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