The UCU anti-casualisation group has been collecting testimonies and anecdotal evidence on precarious work across the University and have come across many worrying practices, with evidence of some staff kept in precarious contracts for as long as 20 years and not being properly recognized for the work they routinely carry on. Within Cardiff UCU members (excluding postgraduates and retired members), 32.3% are on non-secure contracts, including (nearly) zero-hour contracts. Casual staff are likely to be under represented in our membership and HESA figures point to 48.6% of academic staff in Cardiff University being on fixed-term or atypical contracts in 2016/17, with atypical contracts accounting for more than half of this figure. Continue reading
The Anti-casualisation working group is a sub-group of the UCU executive committee, dealing specifically with issues around precarious work across the university. Its current main priority is to secure employee status for postgraduate tutors at Cardiff so they can enjoy the same employment rights as other staff.
They are currently in the process of meeting with the University to convince them that employment rights for postgraduate workers are a positive step forward for all parties, as has been the case with many other universities across the UK. This is a very important campaign, not least because while postgraduate tutors are not recognised as employees, the union cannot represent them in negotiations to fight for better and more secure working conditions.
We will also be surveying all employees at Cardiff about issues relating to precarity and job security – keep an eye out for these, and please fill it in when it hits your in-box.
If you’d like to know more about the issues facing precarious workers at Cardiff then check out this recent blog post by branch member Rowan Campbell, or watch this YouTube video of Rowan talking about these problems.
To get involved with the Anti-casualisation group, please email Renata Medeiros (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rowan Campbell (email@example.com).
The Anti-Precarity Cymru Group, in which numerous Cardiff UCU members are active, has launched digital versions of their Anti-Precarity zines. You can create paper versions for yourself or to share with others by printing these off and folding them in half to create A5 booklets.
The problems experienced by precariously-employed colleagues in the marketized University are both very challenging and little-understood among many colleagues – we urge you to print some of these out to leave in common spaces around the campus.
Members of the Common Room and Anti-Precarity Cymru (@CymruPrecarity) will be attending ‘Survival Strategies for Humanities Early Career Researchers’ – a two-day summit featuring a keynote by Prof Stefan Collini, author of What Are Universities For? and Speaking of Universities, in the Glamorgan Building at Cardiff University (17-18 November). The event includes a workshop with Cat Oakley and Sophie Jones, ‘From Survival to Solidarity’, which addresses themes of precarity and solidarity in the academy. This is a free event which does not require registration.
Frequently Asked Questions about the current ballot on taking action over pay & equality: Continue reading
If we hadn’t gone on strike we’d have lost our DB pensions by now. The JEP report shows that when we stand together, we’re strong and we can win.
The strike also reminded us that pensions are only part of what’s wrong with our Universities. As we stood on the pickets, debated in meetings, and came together in teach-outs we also realised that we share a common opposition to the scourges of casualization, inequality, over-work and unpaid overtime. As you know, UCU members are currently being balloted on strike and non-strike action on all of these issues in the pay and equality campaign. Continue reading