Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #ucuRISING

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Clips from UCU Congress 2023: UCU general secretary @DrJoGrady kicking off her keynote speech

@DrJoGrady UCU general secretary @DrJoGrady on the USS pensions dispute in higher education from her keynote speech at UCU Congress 2023

@DrJoGrady UCU general secretary @DrJoGrady on the pay and working conditions dispute in higher education and the ongoing marking and assessment boycott at 145 universities

Read 8 tweets
🚨Important update on @ucu fighting fund!🚨

An email has gone to branches detailing changes to the @ucu FF. Unfortunately it still contains errors & doesn't reflect what has been voted for by NEC. An all member email has gone out today which also looks to be incorrect 🧵

Before addressing this, pls sign & share this open letter detailing the NEC motion on extending the fighting fund. We need this implementing *now*. The MAB has started & members need to know exactly what they can claim for:


The scheme proposed in the latest HQ email is ambiguous but seems to suggest that members can now claim for:
▶️20 days *in total* for strike/MAB deductions (this is against policy)
▶️But you can only claim for MAB if you're facing 100% deductions (this is against policy)

Read 10 tweets
Wow! Monitoring figures for 31 March 2023 drop from @USSpensions, and show a *£7.6bn SURPLUS* and pre-cut benefits costing *just 21.8% of salary*! Expect these figures to change in the full valuation, but we're bang on track for a historic win. #ucuRISING… We have, today, published t...
@USSpensions I think @RedActuary and Derek Benstead of @FirstActuarial deserve a huge amount of credit for pointing out that time would be strongly in our favour in this story, proved absolutely right.
@USSpensions @RedActuary @FirstActuarial Just think about what was 'supposed' to happen: we should have rolled over in 2018 because of "tough economic realities" (or some such phrase), only now would the surplus have appeared, and employers would have told us that the matter was settled. We didn't let them. #ucuRISING
Read 4 tweets
Long 🧵

@UnisNotBorders is deeply concerned with how UK universities are using decolonisation & climate change frameworks to police & limit certain kinds of migrant student enrolment at their respective institutions.

Here are a few examples that point to this worrying trend.
In response to @SuellaBraverman’s keen desire to limit migrant students w/ families in bringing over their dependents, @SOAS has advertised “transnational” partnerships with @WitsUniversity to stop the “brain drain” in Global South countries:… Image
VC Adam Habib @SOAS, who was formerly the VC @WitsUniversity (a career VC 😉) maintains that migrant students never return back to their countries of origin because they “fall in love, they have relationships, they have children, then the possibility of them going back is zero.”
Read 17 tweets
UCU HE members voted to:
*REJECT interim proposals from in ACAS talks for #FourFights
*NOTE UUK/UCU joint statement on collaboration toward USS benefit restoration
*A Marking & Assessment Boycott (MAB) begins 20 April in all branches involved in 4F dispute
❓What next?

Special HE Sector Conference (sHESC) this Wed 19 April. This is a democratic *policy-making* space, so will direct next steps in pursuit of each #ucuRISING dispute.

[See motions:…]

How do we get what we need? What would progress look like?
Some thoughts on #FourFights (where a pay 'award' has been imposed), not intended to be comprehensive ⬇️

(On #USS several processes are already in motion - @cupofassam and others have highlighted potential bumps in the road we'll need to be vigilant over - more on this soon)
Read 25 tweets
31,853 UCU members have voted overwhelmingly across all surveys to have a say on the employers' proposals.

Thank you to everyone who voted, we now move on to the branch delegate meeting today, and higher education committee tomorrow.

The results in full:


Q: Do you support UCU members being formally consulted on the proposals that have been reached with UCEA on pay, ending zero hour contracts, workloads, casualisation and closing equality pay gaps?

Combined result:
Yes: 78%
No: 22%


2/ Q: Do you support UCU members being formally consulted on th
Q: Do you support UCU members being formally consulted on the proposals that have been reached with UCEA on pay, ending zero hour contracts, workloads, casualisation and closing equality pay gaps?

Members in both disputes (mostly pre-92 universities):
Yes: 76%
No: 24%

3/ Q: Do you support UCU members being formally consulted on th
Read 7 tweets
There's a crisis of academic casualisation and precarity at the LSE. Insecure and short-term contracts are rife. We're social scientists, so we decided to research how serious the problem is. Here's a thread with our key findings, 28-page report + code repository. @ucu #ucuRISING
Public HESA data shows LSE going through a process of steep casualisation of its academic staff from 2014-15 to 2021-22.

Fixed-term academic positions dramatically increased since 2014-15 while permanent positions dropped then stagnated (see gif in tweet above)
LSE's drop in the proportion of academic positions being permanent is in sharp contrast to most other comparable universities, where the number of permanent positions typically increased over the period:
Read 18 tweets
Today at the @ucu branch briefing I asked the leadership if they plan to again rush a consultation, where union members only have 24h to talk to their delegates & 48h to vote about something they just learnt about.

This is what happened 🧵👇

I made the case that, BY DESIGN, this process engineers a democratic failure of local branches and of the grassroot as it precludes collective deliberation.

There is no time to talk to one another, to exchange information, and to make sense together of what is happening.
These deliberative spaces are basically what democracy is about so that seems like a big issue.
Read 9 tweets
Branches are meeting to discuss Get The Vote Out plans & how to deliver a massive YES vote in the reballot

These are some of the meetings taking place over the next few days 👇

Contact your branch for more info & to get involved ✊


Royal Holloway members are meeting online today at 1pm @RH_UCU


Swansea members are discussing plans today @SwanseaUcu

Contact the branch for more info


Read 9 tweets
A year ago today, I was party to what I hope is the biggest stitch-up I'll ever see close up: the pushing through by the JNC of a savage cut in future accrual in @USSpensions based on an self-evidently unsound valuation rooted in pandemic-induced market turmoil. 1/
It was awful. Nothing was fair or right about the decision taken that day. The scheme's rules had been bent, probably breached, by @USSPensions to skew things in favour of @UniversitiesUK, who themselves lied to their members about @UCU's counter-proposal to ensure it sank. 2/
We hoped that the JNC chair might be receptive to the charges we laid about process, but the legal advice they received gave the all-clear. That legal advice couldn't answer the key question we posed about @USSpensions apparent rule breach, but that didn't seem to matter. 3/
Read 12 tweets
We have moved the employer on a range of issues. We will continue to move them in the coming weeks, but the thing that will get this dispute over the line is a massive YES vote in the reballot.

Here we set out where we are on a range of issues.

#ucuRISING I’m voting yes
Casualisation - it wasn’t being discussed on a sectoral level. It is now. We will change our sector. Vote YES.

Pay - no offer, then an improved one. We will push for more. Vote YES.

#ucuRISING Pay   Where we started   No...
Read 7 tweets
My employer sending out email on a strike day inviting people to a discussion of a new 'People Strategy' *on another strike day* says it all, really, about 'People Strategy'. Talk to the Union--they've got some ideas on 'People Strategy' #ucuRISING #UCUstrike
The bigger the Pay & Pensions Deficit, the louder the People PR talk.
The more you offer a 'Strategy' for 'People', the less of a sh*t you give about them. Spare us HR blather.
Read 4 tweets
Here’s why the “I’m personally paid well”, and “conditions aren’t as bad at my university” are so wrong headed. A #ucuRISING 🧵

The ultimate purpose of universities is to preserve, expand and disseminate the body of human knowledge. Expansion of this knowledge = research;
Dissemination = teaching (among other things), and the two are of course linked. And all three would not be possible without our amazing PS staff who are so often overlooked.

All of these things are, at heart, a collaborative endeavour. Academia is an ecosystem which can’t
survive and function without collaboration - not only with people in my own dept or in my own area of expertise, but with ppl at other institutions and with other expertise.

I can’t do my research, develop my teaching, assist my students properly if colleagues (here and
Read 8 tweets
On February 1st, thousands of workers are taking strike action against the Tories’ Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill, & against the destruction of education & health as well as for a wage that protects from the #CostOfLivingCrisis.
This is the first time since the 2011 N30 pensions strike that so many unions have taken action together.

In #Leicester, the March and rally appears to be taking the same form that it took in 2011. A march through the town centre, & a rally at the Athena Events Venue. I was at that march & rally, and filmed it.

Read 14 tweets
I can imagine, and understand, that these strike dates will be greeted with a fair amount of shock, surprise, and concern from students and their parents. £9k a year on university fees is a lot. So I want to explain just how much these institutions value students. 1/
If you are a student (or parent of a student) you will almost certainly be taught at some point by a someone on a temporary or hourly contract. The institution won't tell you this of course. And they'll disguise their temporary staff among the permanent lecturers to hide it 2/
My background is in History, so I'll now begin explaining exactly what it means for you (or your family member) to be taught by someone on a zero hours or similar contract. This is why strike action should matter to you. 3/
Read 11 tweets
Last summer, local UCU branches were in dispute and arranging marking boycotts in part to campaign to restore USS benefits that had been unreasonably cut (see my thread on those cuts - ). This 2nd thread will address the outcome of that action. #ucuRISING
Across the country, UUK institutions agreed joint statements (and some in private) with their local UCU branches, and it was on the basis of these commitments that the action was stood down at those institutions.
This is crucially important – we believe that those institutions should be true to their word, and we expect to hold them to their word.
Read 23 tweets
I want to emphasise the scale of the cuts to the USS pension (broadly the pension scheme for the ‘pre-92’ University sector) and why this is key to the current dispute with employers. This is going to take a couple of threads. This first thread is on the cuts. #USSmess #UCURising
The recent disputed cuts were implemented on 1 April 2022 as a consequence of the 31 March 2020 valuation. It is quite usual to take two years between the date that the valuation is based on, and the implementation of any changes.
These cuts affected all pensions accrued after 1 April 2022. Pensions accrued before that are unaffected. So the cuts affect younger staff proportionally more than older. The longer you have been contributing to a USS pension, the more you have 'banked' on the pre-2022 basis.
Read 40 tweets
this thread sums up #academia so well. i hated so much of it, but kept telling myself the 10 % i love (the research) made up for the 90 % of shit the majority of the time.

i delayed leaving because of that 10 %.

#AcademicTwitter #phdchat #ucuRISING
leaving required a sort of mourning (appreciate this sounds dramatic); i was losing my identity as an academic

my skills and knowledge are so specialised who would even want me anyway?

why would i even want to lose what i have? i have academic freedom after all!!
then my planned redundancy went ahead even though we were eligible for furlough. my next plans (to go to Sweden) fell through because of the plague.

there were no jobs. i stopped being an academic by force. i thought i'd be miserable.
Read 7 tweets
From today's @thetimes, where migrant students might be barred from @RussellGroup institutions in order to bring down net migrant statistics.

Typical dog & whistle discourse used to marginalise migrant students. We've seen this many times before.

Short 🧵#UCURising #UCUstrike
Mid-2000s the discourse of the 'bogus migrant student' took hold of the UK right-wing media, making outrageous claims that *all* migrant students were illegally entering the UK on student visas. @UKLabour responded by instituting the first forays that started #HostileEnvironment. Image
When @GordonBrown was PM, he started the points based immigration system (PBIS) that ushered in immigration checks in universities on migrant student *and* staff. In 2009, SOAS Management used these checks to break apart the migrant-led @SOASJ4C campaign, deporting 9 activists.
Read 12 tweets
Used my energy for the day visiting the nearest @ucu @aberdeen_ucu picket line with Dr Blinky in support of their ongoing #Strikes 👊🏻💪🏻

Sadly #royalmailstrikes had packed up by the time i was on my way back so i couldn't say hello👋🏻

#Solidarity #StrongerTogether #JoinAUnion 3 people, one man and 2 wom...
Got too excited seeing people, this 1 hour at a picket has been the most socialising and energetic thing ive done in 20 months. Already feeling the effects, but so nice to see folk and show solidarity to the first #union i ever joined (even though im no longer a member)
The work unions do benefit all of us. Employers want your labour, workers want to have a life outside of work.

If you like your holiday pay, sick pay, parental leave, maximum work hours, minimum wage, pensions, safety at work etc, then you support unions.
Read 5 tweets
Dont fall for divisive tactics painting #academia as an ivory tower job.

The reality for many is similar struggles to any highly casualised sector

#UCURising #AcademicTwitter
Yes there are perks working in academia, and it can be a cushy job, but guess who hogs those?

Hint: the predominantly white abled upper middle class older guys
The kinda people who think they can relate cos they "did some teaching during my PhD too" (near verbatim words from ex @UniofBath VC to me when discussing casualisation in a meeting with her)
Read 4 tweets
Small note on the #UCUstrike. I'm not doing university teaching anymore, after 18 years. Why? Hourly pay has gone down from £40 per teaching hr in 2014 to £16 per contact hr in 2022. Contracts have gone down from 9 months to 10 weeks. 1 contact hour = 4-8 hrs work. #ucuRISING
The last undergraduate teaching I did, in 2021, was paid £1300 the semester for 2 courses, including writing 1 from scratch, all the reading prep, reading & commenting on student work every week, marking at the end (out of contract time, typically). It took up 2 days a week.#UCU
It was sucking up so much time & energy for so little pay, I was losing money. I can't afford to teach now. Hourly paid teaching when I 1st did it in 2004 seemed fair, at £38/hr. In 2012 at £38-40/hr it felt increasingly exploitative. In 2022 at £16/hr it is impossible. #UCU
Read 4 tweets

Tomorrow we have our say.

Here are some reasons to take strike action.

Add your own thoughts in the replies and we will share them!

We love the job - UCU members don’t come into the education sector for money. We do it because we want to make a difference. At the moment we are seeing the job we love destroyed.

This is our last chance to make a stand.

Insecurity - we cannot and will not accept seeing colleagues on short term contracts anymore. A sector with billions of pounds of assets, paying vice chancellors millions can afford proper working conditions.

We are striking to force change.

Read 9 tweets

Threats of unfair and immoral pay deductions for taking part for action short of striking continue.

This thread exposes those universities that prefer to intimidate their staff than treat them with respect.

Despite an income of £120million, @UniofBradford are threatening up to 100% deductions for staff for action short of striking. This is immoral behaviour. Tag Bradford and make it clear bullying has no place in education.

The vice-chancellor of @UWTSD is on nearly £300k but is still threatening 100% cuts for action short of a strike. Think this is a disgrace? We do too. Tweet and tell them 👏

Read 23 tweets

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