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.
Check the zines out for digital reading, or for printing.
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.
Financial Times Journalist Josephine Cumbo reported on Twitter a few days ago that UUK has now, in principle, accepted the Joint Expert Panel’s recommendations on the future of USS. You can read the thread on Twitter.
While there is still a way to go in the pensions dispute, the fact we have moved our employers from wanting to do away with our DB pensions entirely to basically accepting our critiques and points of view is a massive testament to all of us who took the difficult and brave decision to strike last winter.
If we’d caved in, we’d not have our pensions any more.
One of the things we won in the USS Strike was the opportunity to re-form and democratise our union’s handling of the dispute. The NDC was formed so that rank and file UCU members would have an on-going say in how we manage the pensions issue, and it recently released a statement to the UCU’s Superannuation Working Group which should guide union policy. This conclusion sums up their “no detriment” position nicely, but you can read more in the link below:
“The NDC believes that the precipitate and misleading attempt to impose a DC scheme on members was a disappointing and unwarranted breach of promise by employers. Given no reform of the scheme was required, and therefore UCU members were compelled to take strike action that was unnecessary, the NDC adopts the following:
- UCU members should suffer no detriment in any proposed resolution of the USS dispute. Lost earning should be repaid, any interim contribution increases should be shouldered by the employer, and USS benefits should remain the same.
- UCU should call upon UUK and individual Vice Chancellors to apologise to their staff for their role in triggering the dispute.
- UUK and individual Vice-Chancellors should also apologise to students for their actions and offer appropriate compensation for lost teaching.
The NDC notes there are important areas of concern to UCU members and matters of UCU policy that are not covered in the JEP report. The NDC recommends that the SWG push for negotiations on these issues. The NDC also recommends that the SWG insists that resolution of the dispute incorporates reform of the Joint Negotiating Committee so that the scheme cannot be modified without the approval of members.”
You can read the full statement, and you can keep yourself informed of the work of the NDC.