Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #ucustrike

Most recents (24)

🎵On the 13th day of striking, my union gave to me
13 hardship fund donations...🎵

@UCU #UCUstrike #UCUstrikesback
🎵On the 12th day of striking, my union gave to me
12 sunny picket lines... 🎵

@UCU #UCUstrike #UCUstrikesback
Read 15 tweets
So you have been told to move your teaching online because of #COVID19 ? I am part of the team teaching at @zje_institute in China, and we made the same switch a few weeks ago. Here is a wee thread with experiences so far ...
We record lectures ahead of time and post mp4 files online, rather than having to rely on live conferencing software. This also works better for students without fast continuous internet access.
And of course means that faculty not currently in China don’t have to get up at ridiculous o’clock to deliver lectures.
Read 37 tweets
Settle in, kids. I'm going to talk about professional services in HE.

When the media report on the #UCUStrike they're often framing it as a 'lecturers strike', and ignoring those of us in PS, research, non-teaching roles, and more.

They do it to divide us. They can do one. 1/
Over half the staff in HE are professional services. We are the IT staff that keep your systems running. We are the administrators that make sure students are on the right courses, we are wellbeing services who look after mental health, we are librarians, we are careers... 2/
We are estates, who keep the power and the plumbing on, security who provide 24/7 cover including first aid to keep students and staff safe.

We are the university. All of us. Academics, professional services, cleaning staff, catering staff, students, specialists, technicians 3/
Read 17 tweets
Before working in Higher Education I used to be in Resource and Planning for a large charity

Basically workload planning and modelling

So here is some basic information of things you should include in a workload model for it to work (1/?)
#UCUstrike #UCUstrikesback
1) First step how many hours are there that people are scheduled to work within the timeframe.

For annual this is simple, number of working days in a year x hours scheduled to work each day

Can get more complicated with flexible working but not that hard (2/?)
2) Factor in annual leave

If you have 250 working days in a year and 30 days holiday then 12% of time should be taken up as annual leave

Simple stuff, even University workload models factor this in
Read 22 tweets
A short thread on academic workloads & the #UCUstrike.

It’s not just that academics are now expected to teach exponentially growing numbers of students, publish extensively, win large research grants, engage with policy makers, blog, go on TV and the radio, write op-eds...
...mentor colleagues, chair committees, peer review papers/books/research proposals, give talks, manage budgets, manage people & projects...and so on, often with little training.

It’s that the processes that underpin these have become increasingly complex for unclear reasons.
Coming back to teaching after 6 years, I can feel like the proverbial frog thrown into the pan of boiling water. So many changes, so much additional work, and I can’t says it’s always for the better.

An example...
Read 11 tweets
🧵#ucustrikes why this week we need to go out harder & stronger than ever. This is also a plea for those who have not yet joined *and can* to please do so.

Tbh my main motivation is not pensions, due to #HostileEnvironment not sure I'll be in this country to collect it. (1)
I've got too many friends who have told me they are leaving academia. They are talented, caring & inspirational. I cry bcs I know of the lost this would mean to students & their fields. But they have been pushed out by precarity, toxic workloads & bullying. (2)
I've received messages of Non EU students/staff who've left, are leaving or thinking of leaving UK. They've found little to no solidarity from colleagues & their institutions. Whether it is bcs of #migrantpaygap surveillance, mental & physical breakdowns, precarity, racism (3)
Read 19 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
How ironic that it's been designated #UniMentalHealthDay on a #UCUstrike day.

I vehemently dislike these social media initiatives about mental health anyway, but this one is particularly charged with the current state of academia so I'm going to talk about that instead. 1/
This is a chart of all the possible factors directly related to university that might impact upon undergrads' mental health. Well-intentioned and at first glance, comprehensive, it fails to account for those students with pre-existing illnesses 2/
And it also assumes that some of these factors can be negated with a one-sentence 'tip'. But this aside, it seems to me there's actually a great number of legitimate points on this chart that tutors & teachers should take responsibility for in caring for undergrads. 3/
Read 21 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
Not on strike today because my branch did not reach the turnout threshold, but solidarity to all those taking action today in the #UCUstrike. It's complicated, but hear me out.
Let's leave the pensions dispute to one side, because it's complicated. I am hopeful of some sort of settlement here. More important are:- (1) Casualisation. Universities are making up for their real terms funding crunch with vastly exploited hourly-paid teachers. Got to stop.
Then there's (2) Pay. Here I've got my own issues with my union's approach. I don't need more pay. Across-the-board % rises in themselves regressive. But the same people being casualised (and everyone 'below') SL needs a big uplift to make the profession competitive.
Read 9 tweets
So as the #UCUstrike comes to an end, I thought I should say that I was totally in support. My branch wasn't out on strike, but with a (tiny) public platform here, I thought it important for Professors to say. /THREAD
For that majority of you who don't know, the dispute focuses on (1) pay, (2) casualisation, (3) workload, and (4) pensions. Controversy rages around this, but on (2) and (3) in particular English and Welsh HE is in a state of deepening crisis.
I am fairly paid for what I do. I work hard, but sometimes I choose to. But for junior and mid-ranking colleagues, the system is on the brink of collapse. Some lecturers are working 50, 60 hour weeks and more.
Read 10 tweets
“I’m one of these preciously-employed postdocs. I’ve always been on short term, 1 year/6 month contracts. My current one ends next year but might be extended further, I won’t find out until about a month before it ends. 1/4 #UCUstrike #UCUStrikesBack #PrecarityStory
“I’ve never taken a holiday, and I’m carrying an entire research programme by myself. I need to work because there’s no one else to do it but me. 2/4 #UCUstrike
“My salary just covers my rent and leaves me with £1 a day leftover to live on. I managed to get some summer teaching and A level tutoring to keep my head above water but I’m always tired, and I’m falling behind my research. 3/4 #UCUstrike
Read 4 tweets
“After completing my PhD, I was employed as a fixed-term lecturer. I was frequently asked (well, told) to do more teaching than I was actually contracted to do, without any additional remuneration. 1/4 #UCUstrike #UCUStrikesBack
“On one occasion, my senior colleague told me that I would be teaching a whole extra module just days before the start of term — a module that they were supposed to teach. 2/4
“I also experienced what I would describe as bullying; sadly, I had no choice but to accept it, because I needed the job and needed my employer to write me good references. 3/4
Read 4 tweets
Revisiting my #precaritystory almost 2 yrs on for #UCUstrike. In 2017-2018, I was a research postdoc on a short-term contract at a Russell Group uni. The whole year was a frenzy of overwork, fear & desperation to shore up my CV & & secure my next job in the sector. [Thread]
Drawing on some old tweets from the time here in my account of this, so the story may sound familiar if you were following me back then.
Part of my job that year was to lead on an exhibition with an external partner. Due to circumstances beyond my control (staff illness/turnover, strike action), the schedule was delayed. I asked the uni to extend my contract by 14 days so I could complete the project & be paid.
Read 15 tweets
#PrecarityStory— I just finished teaching my final seminar on an MA module at a university that didn’t meet the strike ballot threshold. I started work in mid-September, 2 weeks before handing in my PhD; until a few days ago, I hadn’t been paid a single penny, despite many emails
I pay my rent monthly (duh) so this has been very hard. When I was hired, I was told I wouldn’t have to do any marking, & my contract ended when teaching ended. Midway through the course, I was told I would actually have to mark the entire module’s coursework for no extra pay
after six weeks of incredibly stressful emails, all conducted through a “remote desktop” barely fit for purpose, I managed to get them to agree to pay me for the marking, but as a “goodwill gesture”; this obviously still doesn’t actually cover the time the marking will take
Read 7 tweets
Things I have learned about UniTemps, "the university owned temporary staffing service" that in several places employs teaching staff (including PhD students acting as teaching assistants) who are barred from participating in strike action. #UCUstrike #UCUStrikesBack
UniTemps is a spin-off company born at the University of Warwick that claims to have paid almost £42 million in wages last year, with most of its activity concentrated through franchise branches in the UK (e.g. in Manchester, Nottingham, and London).
UniTemps is the main focus of 'Warwick University Enterprises Limited', which according to Company House filings grew its business by 20% in 2017-18 and generated a profit of £761,763 before tax.
Read 16 tweets
“I passed my viva 7 years ago. Since then I have had over ten fixed term contracts of varying lengths and pay. The best (and worst) contracts were ones where I was paid a decent wage for a decent amount of time (3 contracts over 5 years at the same uni). 1/13 #UCUstrike
“The downside of this was that I became invested in my students, colleagues, institution. You have developed friendships, started to establish academic networks, provided modules that students love, started to supervise PhD students, then your contract is no longer renewed. 2/13
“Or you are asked to do it all again with modules you know nothing about and more good collegial ‘citizenship’ work is the expectation. After five years of this I was literally hollowed out and stretched so thin, I had nothing left to give. 3/13 #UCUstrike
Read 13 tweets
Yesterday 4 JNCHES (#FourFights) negotiators and @UCU's Head of HE met UCEA. That UCEA met us is down to the strength of our ballot results + absolutely massive strike action currently underway. We need to *hold the line* and *grow* this action: it's *effective* /1 #UCUstrike
We spent ~2.5 hours with UCEA articulating all four grounds of dispute very fully, making clear how interconnected they are, and why it is so vital we turn this increasingly toxic sector (which *should* be so different, so open and inspiring to work within) around. #UCUstrike /2
*Right now* UCEA are consulting university leaders on what might be offered to solve the dispute. A written response is promised early next week. Hold the line! *GROW* the line: know that physical and digital/virtual picket lines *do* collectively strengthen our hand #UCUstrike/3
Read 11 tweets
Thoughts on striking, and non striking, senior staff. Those on the #UCUstrike pickets - physical and digital - I see you and I thank you. Heads of School, Professors, leaders of education and research. I hope that the strength of this action emboldens you, as it does me...1/ speak truth to power - in Senate, on committees, in learned societies, in research groups and funding councils. We are not powerless to change things if we persist and fight. Those who are not on pickets - whether striking or not -please hear us and use your voice for us 2/
If you think this is about quibbles about your pay and your pension-it really really isn’t.What has happened to our pay levels and our pension scheme is symptomatic of a culture in HE leadership that treats staff & students as expendable units, not flesh and blood human beings3/
Read 12 tweets
#UCUstrike After crossing the picket line, a senior academic emailed our branch office to complain that the union picketers were too noisy. I think it's time to devote a thread to say #ThanksToUnions for making lots of noise.… #UCUfightsBack /1
#UCUstrike #ThanksToUnions for the 8 hour day and the five day work week #UCUfightsBack /2
#UCUstrike #ThanksToUnions for parental leave, though that varies wildly by country… #UCUfightsBack /3
Read 8 tweets
UUK's Jarvis is back. I've read it so you don't have to.

tl;dr 👇 (/1)…

#UCUStrikesBack #UCUstrike #UCUstrikes
🚮"financial deficit" [uncritical adoption of USS position]

🚮"employers" open to "reasonable" solutions [like... umm... implementing the JEP???]

🚮"no detriment" is "unacceptable and unaffordable" [umm... what capital investment? no idea what that is]

🚮"employers have listened" [did someone say something that sounded like "implement the JEP"? no I thought not]

🚮"economic environment is uncertain" [remember: it's never the uni's financial choices that are to blame]

Read 5 tweets
Some #Talesofordinaryprecarity for the #UCUstrike:
“There was no training, guidance or support given or even offered to me in preparing my classes. Nevertheless, and perhaps because of that, I worked very hard to prepare my one weekly seminar....
I spent at least 8 hours, if not more in the first weeks, doing the required readings plus extra in order to be knowledgeable in the course content. Who wants to stand in front of a group of students not being sure about the week’s topic?
I went to all the lectures even though I did not get paid for my time to do so, nor for the vast majority of my time preparing the seminars I was responsible for. It’s grossly unrewarding and frustrating, working so hard and knowing that most of it is for free."
Read 3 tweets
Today, I'm joining colleagues across the UK in the #UCUstrike to defend pay & improve working conditions. In particular, I want everyone to be more aware of the uniquely difficult position precarious staff find themselves in. Some thoughts on casualisation from the front lines(1)
I've been lecturing at multiple institutions since 2012, and not once has this been on a permanent contract. I've never had one individual job in that time. In order to pay my bills, I've always worked across at least two institutions - and, at one point, across six (2)
The vast majority of my students don't realise how many of their lecturers are on fixed-term contracts. They don't know how much less we earn as a result, & they aren't aware of the particular stress and anxiety that we experience as we come to the end of yet another contract (3)
Read 6 tweets
Thread: Lots of the reasons for striking focus on students & teaching. This is important. But there are university workers doing lots of other important work, including research. 68% of researchers are on fixed-term contracts, many for 1 or 2 years & it's hard-going... #UCUstrike
1. You do the research job that is in the job outline, but on top of that you MUST also do a number of things to get a new job. Just doing the job listed in the description (even if you're a legend at it) does not get you a renewal or a new contract/project at the end #UCUstrikes
2. You must work on publications, lots of them. Some linked to your current research project, former PhD or the multitude of research projects you've worked on before. That is, just because your research contract finishes on a project, doesn't meant the project work finishes.
Read 12 tweets

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