Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #ucustrikesback

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🎵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
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
(3/?)
Read 22 tweets
#UCUstrikesBack Since today's @StrathclydeUCU strikers are participating in today's #FeministPicket I want to add a thread about the motherhood penalty and the fatherhood bonus that I mentioned at the teach in last week #IWD2020 #IWD #IWD20 /1
The motherhood penalty impacts all women - regardless of whether a woman can have or wants to have children - 40% of managers admit to discriminating against women of childbearing age #UCUstrikesBack #FeministPicket #IWD2020 #IWD #IWD20 /2 theguardian.com/money/2014/aug…
"Many mothers also face discrimination from employers. ... This discrimination extends to women without children too, with some employers regarding all women of childbearing age as potential liabilities" (Woodroffe, 2009:3) #UCUstrikesBack /3 bl.uk/collection-ite…
Read 13 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!]
/2
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)
/3
Read 12 tweets
I've hesitated telling my #PrecarityStory because it's tied up in my immigration story, and as I am still not secure there I have a lot of anxiety. But in honour of the #UCUStrikesBack @ucu, in solidarity with my colleagues, this is mine. 1/
I came over in 2010 with a student visa and a scholarship for my PhD. I'd hoped to finish and return but rapidly realised the job market wouldn't allow it. At the time you could get a one-year extension on a student visa for work experience if timed perfectly. 2/
I vivaed in Sept 2013 with minor corrections. This was crucial because finishing without corrections meant I couldn't apply for a visa extension because of timing, and my funding had run out if I'd had moderate/major. So I aimed to finish with minor for the sake of my visa. 3/
Read 28 tweets
A long #precaritystory incoming for the last day of the #UCUStrikesBack
.
"I’ve been teaching in different departments at Durham for 13 years. Twice I've had contracts F/T for 9 months, the next P/T for 9 months, despite a very similar workload."
"Right now I’m on the usual 'you are not an employee, the University does not guarantee work for you, you are not entitled to sick pay' contract. I am teaching across six different modules, including tutorials, lectures and seminars, at undergraduate and postgraduate level."
"I’m supervising dissertation students. I’m covering the teaching of a permanent member of staff; I applied for that exact job a couple of years ago and wasn’t shortlisted. I give lectures and seminars on the same courses as full-time professors."
Read 4 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
The #UCUstrikes are about pensions, yes, but they’re also about pay inequality. So I’m taking a deep breath & sharing this. In 2017, I was turned down for promotion by the University’s Executive, despite being unanimously supported by my School & my Faculty. This is what happened
The feedback said I was “a strong person” but “there had not been opportunity to evidence achievement”. I was informally told it was because I hadn’t had a grant since 2012. I had a £200K grant that ran 2012-2015 (av. funding in my field is c.£9K per year).
I went on maternity leave in 2015. I returned and submitted 4 grant apps; published in the highest ranking journal in my entire field; had 3 new externally-funded PhD students. I was working 3 days a week.

My feedback also said that I’d shown insufficient leadership.
Read 9 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.com/about-us
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
PEDAGOGY OF THE PICKET LINE 202: FOR LECTURERS NEW TO STRIKING. Lecturers sometimes write courses that they wish were available when they were students. I wish this course was on offer before I joined a picket line for the 1st time in 2018. @ucu @CambridgeUCU #UCUStrikesBack
The prerequisite thread for this thread is PEDAGOGY OF THE PICKET LINE 101: FOR STUDENTS NEW TO STRIKING. In that thread, I presented the picket line as physical + symbolic, as well as pedagogic + performative. What do these concepts mean for lecturers?
Let’s start with the physical + symbolic. This part should not be too hard. Get physical + be symbolic! A picket line cannot make visible the collective withdrawal of labour without picketers being visible collectively. Once you commit to striking, commit to picketing.
Read 19 tweets
I have been relatively quiet about the #UCUStrikesBack on twitter because, as a HoD I was asked by my Uni to be careful about what I say on social media, and because as a HoD I am embroiled in many of the decisions we are campaigning about, esp. workloads + casualisation 1/9
As a HoD I have a responsibility to improve our working conditions + raise issues internally, request more resources, reduce our workloads, reduce staff stress, limit our bureaucracy, avoid casualisation, identify gender + BAME pay gaps 2/9
I have been on strike all week, been banner making, on the pickets + on a digital picket. I had no doubt it was important for me as a professor + a HoD to strike, to stand with fellow @UCU members, to show solidarity + I was open with department staff about my intentions 3/9
Read 9 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
#PrecarityStory #snapshotsinPrecarity #UCUStrikesBack Precarity is -- When HR forgets to pay you (which, weirdly, happens a lot), YOU have to apply for ‘an advance’ even though the payment error was their fault. All the burden is on you, not the other way around. 1/n
When HR underpays you, you have to live on not enough money for the next month. Or months, because sometimes it happens again. But the flexibility is great: you can work in 2010, go away, live your life, come back in 2018 with another degree and more experience
2/n
and get paid *exactly* the same amount for your hourly work. Which means getting paid less in real wages, of course, and that's not even counting the work you do for free. 3/n
Read 6 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
"My bank contract means I am only paid for 9 months a year. I don't know whether I'll be offered hours next academic year." (1/3) #precaritystories #ucustrikes #UCUStrikesBack instagram.com/p/B5X89bYBNrB/
"This means I have another job alongside working at Durham. I have to commute over an hour between these. Getting used to two jobs is simultaneously tough and draining." (2/3)
"Not being full time at either job also means I don't feel fully part of the Department. I struggle to stay up to date regarding students and deadlines" (3/3)
Read 3 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/
...to 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
UUK's Jarvis is back. I've read it so you don't have to.

tl;dr 👇 (/1)

researchprofessionalnews.com/rr-news-uk-vie…

#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]

(/2)
🚮"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]

(/3)
Read 5 tweets
PEDAGOGY OF THE PICKET LINE 101: FOR STUDENTS NEW TO STRIKING: I’m writing this thread because I have found that some students are quite unfamiliar with picketing, which is a sign of the times. Hope this helps. @ucu #UCUStrikesBack @CambridgeUCU
A picket line is a physical + symbolic space, as well as a pedagogic + performative space. Physically + symbolically, it marks a threshold that workers collectively do not cross to withdraw their collective labour. A picket line makes visible the withdrawal of this labor.
Staff do not get paid for withdrawing their labour by standing on a picket line. They are sacrificing their individual salaries for the collective interests of, in this case, the university. Our working conditions are students’ learning conditions.
Read 13 tweets
You might hear about the #digitalpicketline during the #UCUstrikes . What the heck is a digital picket line you ask?!
Well- it's actually pretty neat. Let me explain!
The #digitalpicketline is a great way for those who are unable or ineligible, for whatever reason, to show solidarity with striking UCU members during the #UCUstrikes
What this means is that academics, researchers and support staff won't tweet about their research during the strikes. This is HUGELY important since we live in a knowledge economy where content generation is a legitimate and crucial form of labour.
Read 7 tweets
#UCUStrikesBack (a long thread, apologies)

From tomorrow morning, like many of my colleagues, I will be joining the #UCUstrike over pay, casualisation, equality, and pensions.

This is a thread about why I'm on strike with @BirminghamUCU and why this is so important for me.
I've worked at six different UK universities since 2013 (hello precarity!) & I've seen a lot of the conditions in different parts of the country. In every single institution, one of more of the following issues has arisen. These problems are not new and are not isolated.
First, casualisation. This one's very personal. Until I got a permanent job at Birmingham in 2018, I was precariously employed in academic and academic-adjacent jobs. I commuted long distances. I paid to attend conferences. I wrote articles in my evenings and weekends.
Read 23 tweets
#Autistic people and industrial action: A THREAD.

Anyone who either follows me, or works in a UK higher education institution at the moment, probably won’t have missed the fact that members of UCU will be taking strike action from 25 November to 4 December... 1/
I thought I’d put together some thoughts on the potential impact of industrial action on autistics – whether they are participating or not. To make clear: I AM participating in the action. To make clear: I AM participating in the action... 2/
However, whilst striking is difficult for anyone, there are extra layers of difficulty for many autistics like me who might be doing so. (Caveat: I only speak for myself, but there are some generalisations that follow which will be quite widely applicable to others)... 3/
Read 51 tweets

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