*Métaliste des résistances et luttes du monde universitaire...* résistance Europe

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  • Un inverno caldo : chiamata per la mobilitazione per l’Università pubblica – 9 gennaio 2020

    Segnaliamo ai lettori il seguente comunicato del gruppo “Ricercatori Determinati”, di cui anche ADI fa parte.

    Il 25 dicembre il ministro dell’Istruzione, Università e Ricerca si è dimesso, in polemica con le scelte governative in materia di finanziamento dei suoi provvedimenti per la ricerca universitaria, a seguito dell’approvazione della Legge Finanziaria per il 2020. Per la prima volta, un titolare del MIUR rinuncia alla sua carica per il mancato ottenimento dei fondi richiesti per il rifinanziamento del comparto scolastico e universitario – una scelta che ha giustamente fatto fragore nell’opinione pubblica, e che ci consente di provare a fare il punto sullo stato del sistema dell’istruzione e della ricerca italiana. Per una volta, proviamo a farlo prendendo parola come personale di ricerca non strutturato, che non ha avuto voce in capitolo – come nessun’altra parte dei gradi più bassi della gerarchia accademica – in questa ennesima discussione sul rifinanziamento (pubblico) dell’Università (pubblica). A testimonianza di chi abbia titolarità sul discorso universitario e di quanta voglia ci sia di discuterne con i soggetti su cui si regge l’università, la crisi di governo è stata rapidamente riassorbita con la nomina di due nuovi ministri: Lucia Azzolina per l’istruzione, e Gaetano Manfredi all’Università e alla Ricerca. Crediamo che questo gioco non sia più accettabile e che non si possa rimandare il richiamo a una mobilitazione che coinvolga tutte le componenti universitarie inferiorizzate e messe regolarmente a tacere, come già si stanno attivando da anni altri settori lavorativi funestati dalle scelte politiche degli ultimi decenni.

    I dati della Legge di Bilancio 2020 sono effettivamente più che allarmanti. A partire dal 2008, l’investimento pubblico sull’Università ha perso 1,5 miliardi di euro. In questa situazione, i soldi stanziati con questa finanziaria suonano come una presa in giro: 5 milioni di euro per il rifinanziamento del Fondo di Finanziamento Ordinario per le università italiane; 31 milioni per il finanziamento delle borse di studio per gli studenti – soldi in grado di coprire un fabbisogno di circa il 10% della popolazione studentesca; 25 milioni per aprire una nuova agenzia (Agenzia Nazionale della Ricerca), chiamata a indirizzare, con modalità ancora per nulla chiare, le attività di ricerca nel nostro Paese. Ma a cosa servirebbe rifinanziare l’università? Su quale sistema attualmente esistente si innestano i provvedimenti previsti dalla finanziaria?

    Gli effetti delle politiche italiane per l’università avviate almeno a partire dal Bologna Process (1999), e proseguite con le successive riforme dell’Università compresa la Legge Gelmini del 2008, emergono chiaramente a partire dalla condizione del dottorato in Italia. Nell’immagine allegata sono mostrati i dati eloquenti dell’ultima Indagine ADI (Associazione Dottorandi e Dottori di Ricerca in Italia) relativi al numero di borse di dottorato in Italia.

    La situazione non migliora se si guarda alle proporzioni tra personale di ricerca strutturato e non strutturato (e quindi precario): si è verificata un’inversione storica tra la quantità di personale stabilizzato (nel quadro attuale, professori associati e ordinari) e di personale precario (assegni di ricerca, titolari di borse di studio, Rtd-A ed Rtd-B). Nel 2018 erano ben 68.428 le persone assunte a tempo determinato, contro solo le 47.561 a tempo indeterminato, il che vuol dire che l’Università italiana, in questo momento, si regge sul lavoro precario, non garantito in termini contrattuali, previdenziali e assistenziali. Né è possibile in questo momento invertire la tendenza: la totale mancanza di un sistema di reclutamento ordinario produce carriere discontinue, spesso intervallate da lunghi periodi di disoccupazione che sono solo in parte tutelati da ammortizzatori sociali come DIS-COLL. Si tratta di carriere soggette alla disponibilità o meno di risorse che vengono dai fondi di ricerca dei docenti strutturati (che quindi ne hanno il pieno controllo) o da finanziamenti europei per singoli progetti di ricerca. Questa carriera altalenante prosegue finché non vengono indetti concorsi per la stabilizzazione, irregolari e difficili da prevedere perché non esiste più un sistema concorsuale ordinario.

    La condizione contrattuale para-subordinata di chi lavora nella ricerca rende la posizione lavorativa del ricercatore molto più svantaggiata, sul piano assistenziale e previdenziale, rispetto a buona parte delle persone con un lavoro dipendente e subordinato (e basterebbe in questo senso pensare alle scarsissime tutele relative a maternità e malattia). Non avendo un vero “datore di lavoro” a cui rendere conto, salve le dinamiche baronali che determinano in linea di massima il finanziamento dei contratti e degli assegni per la sua posizione, le dinamiche del lavoro di ricerca appaiono invece piuttosto simili a quelle del lavoro autonomo, delle cooperative di servizi e dell’impiego di “finte partite IVA”, peraltro abbondanti nell’università dai servizi bibliotecari a quelli delle mense e del diritto allo studio universitario. Nel caso specifico del lavoro della ricerca, un’altra tara rende particolarmente difficili le condizioni del suo esercizio oltre alla para-subordinazione e al precariato: sono le modalità di valutazione della produzione scientifica da parte dell’ANVUR. Da queste ultime dipendono gli avanzamenti di carriera in senso più strettamente scientifico, e il criterio vigente è una valutazione tendenzialmente algoritmica dei prodotti scientifici, delle singole persone e dei dipartimenti. Questo meccanismo obbliga i ricercatori ad una “corsa alla pubblicazione”, con effetti disastrosi tanto sulla qualità dei contenuti quanto sul benessere personale. Nel privilegiare la quantità della ricerca sulla sua qualità, il sistema rivela tutta la sua inadeguatezza. La direzione dell’ANVUR è d’altronde in linea con i sistemi di valutazione internazionali, in ottemperanza all’integrazione sovranazionale dei sistemi di valutazione della ricerca che anni addietro venivano indicati come “aziendalizzazione” delle università. La differenza più evidente, anche senza voler mettere in discussione questo processo, è però che l’Italia investe complessivamente meno dell’1% del PIL sulla ricerca, rispetto alla media dell’1,5% dei paesi considerati dal rapporto Ocse “Education at Glance” del 2019.

    Come la qualità dell’insegnamento risente delle condizioni di lavoro del personale di ricerca non strutturato sul quale si regge l’università, anche il peggioramento della condizione studentesca ha ricadute pesanti sul reclutamento del personale di ricerca. Infatti non solo – in assenza di un adeguato finanziamento pubblico, il gettito delle tasse studentesche influisce sulla capacità o meno degli atenei di assumere, specialmente nei settori meno interessanti per il finanziamento privato. Va aggiunto che per di più solo l’11% degli studenti iscritti beneficia di una borsa di studio, rendendo l’università un posto sempre più inaccessibile anche a causa della spasmodica ricerca di risorse che viene fatta pesare sulle fasce più deboli della popolazione studentesca. Solo il 6% degli studenti fuorisede usufruisce di un posto alloggio e più di 25.000 studentesse e studenti (i dati riguardano solo alcune regioni) sono idonei non beneficiari di posto alloggio, con una carenza strutturale di residenze e posti letto che costringono tante e tanti a rivolgersi al mercato privato, al caro-affitti e alla speculazione immobiliare che sta erodendo troppe città.

    Dal punto di vista del lavoro di ricerca, il risultato è che sul totale degli assegnisti attualmente in servizio meno del 10% riuscirà, al termine di un lungo e frastagliato percorso, a divenire un professore di seconda fascia (professore associato), unica possibilità di stabilizzazione attualmente prevista per chi lavora nella ricerca. Detto in altri termini, oltre il 90% dell’attuale personale di ricerca verrà espulso dall’Università. Ci può forse stupire che negli ultimi anni il principale dibattito nazionale e internazionale relativo alla ricerca universitaria sia quello sul benessere psichico di chi lavora nella ricerca? La frammentazione delle relazioni sociali, frutto inevitabile della competizione; la mancanza, talvolta, di spazi fisici riconosciuti dove svolgere il proprio lavoro; l’obbligo all’internazionalizzazione (che si traduce in una lunga diaspora che conduce i ricercatori a cambiare non solo città ma Stato); l’assenza di un orizzonte di certezza lavorativo: sono solo alcuni dei fattori che maggiormente contribuiscono a generare una fragilità esistenziale, emotiva, psichica, ivi compresa la difficoltà a progettare la propria vita secondo i propri bisogni, aspirazioni e desideri e trovando continuamente in conflitto la propria realizzazione personale e collettiva con la propria realizzazione lavorativa. Lascia tutto e seguimi. In questo vediamo niente di più e niente di meno che lo stesso meccanismo che molti altri comparti del lavoro già in mobilitazione vivono quotidianamente: a loro va tutta la nostra solidarietà, che molt_ di noi esprimono già concretamente attraverso la mobilitazione attiva in loro vicinanza come in vicinanza delle altre lotte sociali e civili che in questo paese avvengono. Bisogna reagire immediatamente pretendendo il miglioramento delle condizioni di lavoro e di studio nel settore universitario almeno attraverso il rifinanziamento pubblico dell’università. Va pretesa una riforma immediata del reclutamento e del pre-ruolo, eliminando le forme di precariato e para-subordinazione. Il sistema attuale di valutazione della ricerca va radicalmente ripensato, a partire dalla soppressione dell’ANVUR. Occorre migliorare le condizioni di studio in Italia, aumentando il Fondo Integrativo Statale per il diritto allo studio di almeno 200 milioni di euro, senza che ciò abbia ricadute sulle altre componenti del mondo universitario e in particolare sul reclutamento del personale di ricerca.

    È anche sulla base di questo che chiamiamo tutte e tutti a mobilitarsi, il 9 gennaio 2020, per una giornata di lotta nella quale chiedere:
    – un rifinanziamento adeguato e strutturale del comparto università e ricerca, in misura tale da poter quantomeno ritornare, nei più brevi tempi possibili, ai livelli pre-crisi;
    – una riforma del reclutamento per Università ed Enti di ricerca, da effettuare con un concorso annuale ordinario, per invertire il trend che ha portato alla proliferazione sistematica della popolazione precarizzata e consentire, a ciascun lavoratore, una programmazione chiara della propria vita;
    – una riforma del pre-ruolo, eliminando i contratti para-subordinati in favore di forme lavorative e previdenziali dignitose e riducendo, se non eliminando, i lunghi periodi di disoccupazione che si moltiplicano fino a una ipotetica stabilizzazione;
    – la soppressione dell’ANVUR e un ripensamento radicale della valutazione della ricerca a partire da criteri qualitativi e non più quantitativi;
    – l’aumento per almeno 200 milioni del Fondo Integrativo Statale per il diritto allo studio, così da garantire borse di studio, alloggi e residenze.

    Riuniamoci in presidi e assemblee, pensiamo e costruiamo insieme l’alternativa con tutti i mezzi necessari: divisi siamo niente, uniti siamo tutto!

    Ricercatori Determinati – Pisa

    https://www.roars.it/online/un-inverno-caldo-chiamata-per-la-mobilitazione-per-luniversita-pubblica-9-genn
    #université #Italie #grève #résistance #universités #budget #finances #loi_finances

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    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les résistances dans le monde universitaire en Europe :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/824281

    • Disintossichiamoci-Sapere per il futuro

      Economics are the methods.The object is to change the soul”. Riferita alle politiche della conoscenza, istruzione e ricerca (ma non soltanto), questa formula di Margaret Thatcher ben riassume il processo che ha contraddistinto gli ultimi decenni.Il metodo economico, la penuria come condizione normale, al limite o al di sotto del limite della sopravvivenza, è visibile a tutti. Anche ben visibile, insieme a quello finanziario, è lo strangolamento burocratico. Meno visibile l’obiettivo. Il cambiamento degli animi è così profondo che non ci accorgiamonemmenopiù della distruzione compiutasi intorno e attraverso di noi: il paradosso della fine –nella “società della conoscenza” –di un mondo dedicato alle cose della conoscenza. Anche l’udito si è assuefatto a una programmatica devastazione linguistica, dove un impoverito gergo tecnico-gestionale e burocratico reitera espressioni dalla precisa valenza operativa, che però sembra essere difficile cogliere: miglioramento della qualità, eccellenza, competenza, trasparenza, prodotti della ricerca, erogazione della didattica... E autonomia, ovvero –per riprendere le parole di Thomas Piketty –l’impostura che ha avviato il processo di distruzione del modello europeo di università. Una distruzione che ha assunto come pretesto retorico alcuni mali –reali e no -della vecchia università, ma naturalmente senza porvi rimedio, perché non questo ma altro era il suo l’obbiettivo.A trenta anni appunto dall’introduzione dell’autonomia,a venti dal processo di Bologna,a dieci dalla “Legge Gelmini”, la letteratura critica su questa distruzione è sconfinata. Ricerca e insegnamento –è un fatto, eppure sembra un tabù esplicitarlo –da tempo non sono più liberi. Sottoposta a una insensata pressione che incalza a “produrre” ogni anno di più, a ogni giro (da noi VQR, ASN ecc) di più, la ricerca è in preda a una vera e propria bolla di titoli, che trasforma sempre più il già esiziale publish or perishin un rubbish or perish. Nello stesso tempo, è continua la pressione ad “erogare” una formazione interamente modellata sulle richieste del mondo produttivo. La modernizzazione che ha programmaticamente strappato l’università via da ogni “torre di avorio” –facendone“responsive”, “service university” –ha significato non altro che la via, la “terza via”, verso il mondo degli interessi privati. Svuotate del loro valore,istruzione e ricerca sono valutate, vale a dire “valorizzate” tramite il mercato e il quasi-mercato della valutazione, che, nella sua migliore veste istituzionale, non serve ad altro che «a favorire (...) l’effetto di controllo sociale e di sviluppo di positive logiche di mercato» (CRUI 2001).Proprio grazie all’imporsi di queste logiche di mercato, la libertà di ricerca e di insegnamento –sebbene tutelata dall’art. 33 della Costituzione –è ridotta oramaia libertà di impresa. Il modello al quale le è richiesto sottomettersi è un regime di produzione di conoscenze utili (utili anzitutto a incrementare il profitto privato), che comanda modi tempi e luoghi di questa produzione, secondo un management autoritario che arriva ad espropriare ricercatori e studiosi della loro stessa facoltà di giudizio, ora assoggettata a criteri privi di interna giustificazione contrabbandati per oggettivi. Si tratta di numeri e misure che di scientifico, lo sanno tutti, non hanno nulla e nulla garantiscono in termini valore e qualità della conoscenza. Predefinire percentuali di eccellenza e di inaccettabilità, dividere con mediane o prescrivere soglie, ordinare in classifiche, ripartire in rating le riviste, tutto questo, insieme alle più vessatorie pratiche di controllo sotto forma di certificazioni, accreditamenti, rendicontazioni, riesami, revisioni ecc., ha un’unica funzione: la messa in concorrenza forzata di individui gruppi o istituzioni all’interno dell’unica realtà cui oggi si attribuisce titolo per stabilire valori, ossia il mercato, in questo caso il mercato globale dell’istruzione e della ricerca, che è un’invenzione del tutto recente.

      Là dove infatti tradizionalmente i mercati non esistevano (istruzione e ricerca, ma anche sanità, sicurezza e così via), l’imperativo è stato quello di crearli o di simularne l’esistenza. La logica del mercato concorrenziale si è imposta come vero e proprio comando etico, opporsi al quale ha comportato, per i pochi che vi hanno provato, doversi difendere da accuse di inefficienza, irresponsabilità, spreco di danaro pubblico, difesa di privilegi corporativi e di casta. Tutt’altro che il trionfo del laissez faire: un “evaluative State” poliziesco ha operato affinché questa logica venisse interiorizzata nelle normali pratiche di studio e ricerca, operando una vera e propria deprofessionalizzazione, che ha trasformato studiosi impegnati nella loro ricerca in entrepreneurial researcher conformi ai diktat della corporate university. A gratificarli una precarietà economica ed esistenziale che va sotto il nome di eccellenza, la cornice oggi funzionale a un “darwinismo concorrenziale” esplicitamente teorizzato e, anche grazie alla copertura morale offerta dall’ideologia del merito, reso forzatamente normalità.Sono in molti ormai a ritenere che questo modello di gestione della conoscenza sia tossico e insostenibile a lungo termine. I dispositivi di misurazione delle performance e valutazione premiale convertono la ricerca scientifica (il chiedere per sapere) nella ricerca di vantaggi competitivi (il chiedere per ottenere), giungendo a mettere a rischio il senso e il ruolo del sapere per la società. Sempre più spesso oggi si scrive e si fa ricerca per raggiungereuna soglia di produttività piuttosto che per aggiungereuna conoscenza all’umanità: “mai prima nella storia dell’umanità tanti hanno scritto così tanto pur avendo così poco da dire a così pochi” (Alvesson et al., 2017). In questo modo la ricerca si condanna fatalmente all’irrilevanza, dissipando il riconoscimento sociale di cui finora ha goduto e generando una profonda crisi di fiducia. È giunto il momento di un cambiamento radicale,se si vuole scongiurare l’implosione del sistema della conoscenza nel suo complesso. La burocratizzazione della ricerca e la managerializzazione dell’istruzione superiore rischiano di diventare la Chernobyl del nostro modello di organizzazione sociale. Quel che serve oggi è quindi riaffermare i principi che stanno a tutela del diritto di tutta la società ad avere un sapere, uninsegnamento, una ricerca liberi –a tutela, cioè, del tessuto stesso di cui è fatta una democrazia –e per questo a tutela di chi si dedica alla conoscenza. Serve una scelta di campo, capace di rammagliare dal basso quello che resiste come forza critica,capacità di discriminare, distinguere quello che non si può tenere insieme: condivisione ed eccellenza, libertà di ricerca e neovalutazione, formazione di livello e rapida fornitura di forza lavoro a basso costo, accesso libero al sapere e monopoli del mercato.In questa direzione si delineano alcune tappe. La prima è una verifica dell’effettiva sussistenza e consistenza di questo campo. Un progetto non può avanzare se non si raggiunge una massa minima di persone disposte ad impegnarvisi. Se c’è un’adeguata adesione preliminare –diciamo in termini simbolici 100 persone per partire –organizziamo un incontro a breve per ragionare su politiche radicalmente alternative in fatto di valutazione, tempi e forme della produzione del sapere, reclutamento e organizzazione.In prospettiva, realizziamo a giugno un’iniziativa in concomitanza con la prossima conferenza ministeriale del processo di Bologna, che quest’anno si tiene a Roma, per avanzare con forza –in raccordo con altri movimenti europei di ricercatori e studiosi(già sussistono contatti in questo senso)–un ripensamento delle politiche della conoscenza.
      Valeria Pinto
      Davide Borrelli
      Maria Chiara Pievatolo
      Federico Bertoni

      https://www.roars.it/online/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Sapere-per-il-futuro-documento-1-2.pdf

  • #Affiches qui circulent en #Allemagne sur le monde académique...

    Intéressant : Certaines affiches ont été traduites et adaptées d’affiches qui circulent en France en ce moment...

    Notamment celles en lien avec la #novlangue de #Vidal, qui a inventé le mot #coopétition :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/820393#message825279

    Et celles qui ont plus de lien avec la #précarité :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/820393#message824187

    #internationalisation_de_la_lutte

    #résistance #université #universités #précarisation

    –—

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les résistances dans le monde universitaire en Europe :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/824281

    ping @_kg_ @aslitelli

  • „Precarious Internationale : solidarity network meeting“ of the Network for Decent Labour in Academia, Berlin, June 5, 2020

    Dear all,

    many of us have made and continue to make disenchanting experiences, to say the least, in the German academic system. While it markets itself as a world of excellence, liberal egalitarianism, cosmopolitanism, freedom and generosity towards scholars at risk, the reality of its structural labour conditions and culture of ignorance betray this image to be a grotesque misrepresentation. German academia is characterised by an ingrained and almost cultivated lack of consciousness towards multiple forms of discrimination (based on race, class, gender, age, etc.) and by related modalities of exclusion as well as paternalistic and infantilizing norms and practices particularly vis-à-vis international and non-naturalized scholars and students. As a system that has never been as much as confronted with a debate on quotas or human rights, German academia expects everybody to ‘integrate’ into what is essentially a structure normatively built around the ‘white male’ and organised according to steep hierarchies around disciplinary chairs. The consequences are direct dependencies of various kinds and precarious, fixed-term employment structures unparalleled by international comparison.

    Many who came here with hopes and expectations have meanwhile withdrawn, tending to pressing political issues in other ways. While very much understandable, this inadvertently strengthens the fragmentation and division among the large class of underprivileged and precarious scholars that the system relies upon. The Network for #Decent_Labour_in_Academia (#Netzwerk_für_Gute_Arbeit_in_der_Wissenschaft, #NGAWiss) has been working for the past three years to publicise and scandalise the miserable employment conditions in German academia and to advocate for structural reforms. Its working group ‘Precarious Internationale’ aims to make intersectional discrimination a central issue of the network’s activism.

    As a part of this effort, this workshop wants to bring together scholars, unionists and activists with different histories of mobility and migration to discuss and reflect on the intersection between precarious labour conditions and different forms of discrimination in the German academic system. We want to come together and learn from each other in order to come to a better analysis of the different problems and challenges faced by differently positioned scholars and activists, but also to exchange experiences and knowledges over struggles for academic freedoms and labour conditions in different contexts. The aim is both to position the question of labour in academia within broader societal struggles in Germany and to link it up to related struggles in other countries.

    We propose to frame the workshop along two lines of debate and exchange. However, we are very much open to alter and adapt this proposal according to what participants consider urgent and relevant to be discussed!

    Critical diversity: As against a neoliberal depoliticised celebration of diversity that follows a calculative logic of added value while blanking out structural inequalities, we want to engage in a critical discussion on the realities of diversity in German academia.Possible questions to be discussed include: what are the effects, limitations and problems of current discourse and practices of diversity? Is it possible – and acceptable – to speak of ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ in the European and especially German context? When does it make sense to speak of ‘migration backgrounds’ to address the issue of underrepresentation of scholars in high academic positions? What are the concrete problems and challenges faced by people with a variety of different migration/mobility histories? What about forms of discrimination affecting people who do not master the German language? And how do these issues intersect with other vectors of discrimination, such as class, age, gender or disability?

    Network of solidarity: We want to learn from each other’s struggles and experiences, think through concrete possibilities for solidarity and envision common political actions.How can we connect the activities of scholars, unionists, and activists struggling against precarious labour and different forms of inequality and discrimination in different academic settings? What are the larger political struggles in which these activities are involved? How and what can we learn from each other? What kinds of concrete steps towards mutual assistance could be developed and what common political actions could be envisioned?

    Please let us know (alice.bieberstein@hu-berlin.de) by FEBRUARY, 15 2020 whether (1) you would like to participate in this workshop! In your answer, please indicate (2) whether there is a topic or issue of special INTEREST of URGENCY to you that you would want to see addressed in the workshop. Please also let us know (3) whether you would want to join with a specific contribution of any kind (presentation, film, artistic intervention, etc.). We absolutely want to make sure that lack of personal funds does not stand in the way of your participating. Private accommodation can be provided, and we are looking into options of supporting travel expenses. Please do let us know your needs and we’ll get back to you with possibilities.

    Contact:

    Dr. Alice von Bieberstein
    Institut für Europäische Ethnologie
    Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage
    Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
    alice.bieberstein@hu-berlin.de

    https://www.mittelbau.net/call-for-participation-precarious-internationale-solidarity-network-meeti

    #Allemagne #université #universités #résistance #précarisation #précarité #excellence #scholars_at_risk #discriminations #paternalisme #exclusion #travail #conditions_de_travail

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    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les résistances dans le monde universitaire, et au-delà de la France :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/824281

  • Northern Ireland universities to face further strike action

    Queen’s University and Ulster University face further strike action from many lecturers and support staff.

    University and College Union (UCU) members at both universities previously walked out for eight days in November and December 2019.

    The union has now said its members will strike for a further 14 days from Thursday, 20 February.

    The action is due to ongoing disputes over pay, workloads and pensions.

    As well as Queen’s and Ulster, more than 70 universities across the UK are likely to be affected.

    The UCU has 583 members at Ulster University (UU) and 933 members at Queen’s University (QUB).

    Turnout in the strike ballot at both Northern Ireland universities was lower than the UK-wide turnout of 53% in the pensions ballot and 49% in the pay and conditions ballot.

    Not all UCU members at UU and QUB went on strike in late 2019 but a significant number did, causing some classes and lectures to be cancelled.

    The UCU has said its members will take strike action on:

    Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February;
    from Monday 24 February to Wednesday 26 February;
    and from Monday 2 March to Thursday 5 March.

    They will then walk out for the entire week beginning Monday, 9 March.

    The disputes centre on changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), with the union also claiming there has been a failure to improve pay, equality, rates of casual employment and workloads.

    The UCU general secretary Jo Grady also warned that it will carry out a further ballot if the dispute is not resolved to allow its members to take further strike action throughout 2020.

    “If universities want to avoid further disruption they need to deal with rising pension costs, and address the problems over pay and conditions,” she said.

    ’We have been clear from the outset that we would take serious and sustained industrial action if that was what was needed."

    Academics at QUB and UU also took part in a previous strike over pension changes in 2018.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-51364871
    #Irlande_du_Nord #université #grève #universités #résistance

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    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les résistances dans le monde universitaire en Europe :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/824281

    • Teachers’ strike: ‘We have to work part-time jobs to get by’

      Thousands of teachers are set to strike on Tuesday to protest over two-tier payscales

      Tara Ní Mhóráin (29), a secondary school teacher, works a part-time job in order to make ends meet. So, too, do the two other teachers she shares a house with in Co Louth.

      All are on lower pay scales which were introduced in 2011 to cut public spending.

      “It’s something which is completely foreign for older teachers,” Ní Mhóráin says. “I do some part-time lecturing work in Dublin City University. My other teaching friends work in shops, babysitting or administration during the evenings or weekends. And we all work during the summer. We have to,” she says.

      By her calculation, she has lost out on about €37,500 as a result of being on a lower pay scale since she started teaching in 2014. For those hired closer to 2011, she says, the figure is about €50,000.

      “At my school, most teachers are on the lower scale. You see some older colleagues who might be able to buy a new car or go somewhere nice on holidays . . . that feels so out of reach for many of us, even though we’re in the classroom next door doing the same job. It’s a bitter pill to swallow,” she says.

      Even though she’s classified as a “new entrant teacher”, many have been teaching close to a decade now.

      “We have waited long enough for it to end . . . many of us have had to put life decisions off, such as having children, getting married. Ending two-tier pay has been a waiting game and it’s driving people from teaching,” she says.

      Ní Mhóráin says she loves her job and does not want to be on strike on Tuesday. But, she says, it is vitally important that the next government ends pay inequality swiftly. Otherwise, teachers may consider leaving the profession.

      “It makes you wonder do you want to teach for the rest of your life. I used to work as a translator with the European Commission. It wasn’t work I enjoyed as much, but it has more financial benefits.”

      While the political parties have all pledged to end pay inequality, Ní Mhóráin says many of the promises are “wishy washy”.

      “We want an end date. We want to know when can we get on with the rest of our lives,” she says.

      https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/teachers-strike-we-have-to-work-part-time-jobs-to-get-by-1.4159458

      #Irlande

  • Outre Manche 74 universités entrent en grève en février et en mars

    Soixante-quatorze universités britanniques seront touchées par 14 jours de grève en février et en mars, selon le communiqué de UCU aujourd’hui. La grève commencera le jeudi 20 février et prendra de l’ampleur chaque semaine jusqu’à culminer en un arrêt total du travail du lundi 9 au mardi 13 mars.

    Le conflit porte sur la viabilité financière du système de retraites Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) et de l’accroissement de son coût pour ses membres, et sur l’échec des universités à n universitieséchec des universités à faire des améliorations significatives sur la rémunérations, leur équiités, la flexibilité et la charge de travail. Voici les jours de grève prévus :

    Semaine 1 – Jeudi 20 & vendredi 21 février
    Semaine 2 – lundi 24, mardi 25 & mercredi 26 février
    Semaine 3 – lundi 2, mardi 3, mercredi 4 & jeudi 5 mars
    Semaine 4 – lundi 9, mardi 10, merciredi 11, jeudi 12 & vendredi 13 mars
    Les membres de UCU ont cessé le travail huit jours en novembre et décembre l’an passé affectant ainsi un million d’étudiant⋅es. La prochaine vague touchera 14 autres universités, soit 200 000 étudiant⋅es supplémentaires, puisque UCU davantage de sections UCU ont atteint les 50% de participation légalement requis pour entrer en grève.

    Le syndicat a également averti qu’il consulterait ses membres après la vague de grèves si les conflits ne trouvaient pas de solution, afin de s’assurer que ses sections puissent faire grève jusqu’à la fin de l’année universitaire. Les mandats de grève ont seulement une validité de six mois ; aussi les sections qui ont cesser le travail en novembre doivent faire renouveler le mandat reçu pour être autorisé à faire grève après avril.

    En plus des jours de grève, les membres syndicqués sont invités à pratique la « grève du zèle ». Cela implique de actions comme travailler selon les termes exacts du contrat, ne pas assurer le travail de collègues absents et refuser de remplacer les cours supprimés à cause de la grève.

    La secrétaire générale de UCU Jo Grady déclaire : « Nous avons vu plus de membres soutenir les grèves depuis la moblisation de l’hiver derner et cette nouvelle vague de grève va affecter plus d’universités et d’étudiants. Si les universités veulent éviter davantage de perturbation, il faut qu’elles parviennent à un accord sur l’accroissement du coût des retraite et s’affrontent aux problèmes des rémunérations et des conditions de travail ».

    « Nous avons été clairs dès le départ sur le fait que nous allions organiser une grève ferme et durable si c’est de ça qu’il était besoin. En plus des grèves du mois à venir, nous allons consulter nos membres pour nous assurer que nous disposons d’un mandat renouvelé pour couvrir le reste de l’année universitaire, si ces conflits ne trouvent pas de résolution satisfaisante ».

    Universities affectées par la grève

    Deux conflits (47) :
    1. Aston University
    2. Bangor University
    3. Cardiff University
    4. University of Durham
    5. Heriot-Watt University
    6. Loughborough University
    7. Newcastle University
    8. The Open University
    9. The University of Bath
    10. The University of Dundee
    11. The University of Leeds
    12. The University of Manchester
    13. The University of Sheffield
    14. University of Nottingham
    15. The University of Stirling
    16. University College London
    17. The University of Birmingham
    18. The University of Bradford
    19. The University of Bristol
    20. The University of Cambridge
    21. The University of Edinburgh
    22. The University of Exeter
    23. The University of Essex
    24. The University of Glasgow
    25. The University of Lancaster
    26. The University of Leicester
    27. City University
    28. Goldsmiths College
    29. Queen Mary University of London
    30. Royal Holloway
    31. The University of Reading
    32. The University of Southampton
    33. The University of St Andrews
    34. Courtauld Institute of Art
    35. The University of Strathclyde
    36. The University of Wales
    37. The University of Warwick
    38. The University of York
    39. The University of Liverpool
    40. The University of Sussex
    41. The University of Aberdeen
    42. The University of Ulster
    43. Queen’s University Belfast
    44. Birkbeck College, University of London
    45. SOAS, University of London
    46. The University of Oxford
    47. The University of East Anglia

    Pour les rémunérations et les conditions de travail seulement (22) :
    1. Bishop Grosseteste University
    2. Bournemouth University
    3. Edge Hill University
    4. Glasgow Caledonian University
    5. Glasgow School of Art
    6. Liverpool Hope University
    7. Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts
    8. Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
    9. St Mary’s University College, Belfast
    10. Roehampton University
    11. Sheffield Hallam University
    12. The University of Brighton
    13. The University of Kent
    14. Bath Spa University
    15. Royal College of Art
    16. University of Huddersfield
    17. University of Winchester
    18. University of East London
    19. Leeds Trinity University
    20. UAL London College of Arts
    21. De Montfort University
    22. University of Greenwich

    Contre la réforme des retraites USS seulement (5) :
    1. Scottish Association of Marine Science
    2. Institute for Development Studies
    3. Keele University
    4. King’s College London
    5. Imperial College London

    https://academia.hypotheses.org/10910

    #université #Angleterre #UK #grève #résistance #universités

    –----
    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les résistances dans le monde universitaire en Europe :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/824281

    • Senior UK academics protest over pay and working conditions

      Professors refuse to act as external examiners, potentially disrupting students’ results.
      https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/f577f9af03596a66eddb4bc2cde72cec8d6037df/0_45_1400_840/master/1400.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=d6a9abbc77ccb62944d311

      Senior academics are refusing to act as external examiners – a vital part of higher education assessments – in protest at pay and working conditions in UK universities, and are urging colleagues to join them, potentially disrupting this year’s results for students.

      British universities rely on external examiners to independently validate the results of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, meaning that mass resignations would cause headaches for universities in the setting and marking of exams.

      A letter to the Guardian signed by 29 professors said they were resigning as external examiners and refusing to take on new contracts because of pension cuts and insecure contracts throughout the sector, as well as gender and ethnicity pay gaps, heavy workloads and stress.
      Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
      Read more

      “We are refusing to act as external examiners because although we believe that this role is crucial in underpinning the quality of education provided to students, so too is the need to provide fair pay, pensions and job security for those who work in universities,” the letter states.

      “It is long past time for universities to address these festering problems, and we believe we have a responsibility to staff at the start of their careers to make a stand now. Please join us by resigning external examiner posts and refusing to take on new contracts until universities take action to address these issues.”

      Phil Taylor, a professor of work and employment at the University of Strathclyde, said he had signed the letter because he was “fed up” with universities treating their staff with contempt.

      “Someone starting now is likely to have to deal with one insecure contract after another, face cuts in their pension, spiralling workloads, unrelenting pressure, soaring stress levels and pay inequality. Universities must start to value staff more or they will lose what little goodwill that is left,” he said.

      Another signatory, Natalie Fenton, a professor of media and communications at Goldsmiths, University of London, said British universities boasted about their global reputation while treating staff as second-class citizens.

      “It is really important that senior academics on established contracts make a stand in support of less fortunate colleagues. I will be refusing any invitations to act as external examiner for degree courses until universities address these issues,” Fenton said.

      External examiners are experienced academics such as professors or senior lecturers, who give independent assurance that a university’s assessment system is fair and help to maintain rigorous academic standards.
      Thousands of UK academics ’treated as second-class citizens’
      Read more

      The external examination boycott comes during industrial disputes at many British universities, with the University and College Union leading a strike at 60 institutions last year and more strike ballots being held this month.

      “External examiners resigning their positions, and refusing to take up new ones, are very serious steps and demonstrate the huge levels of frustration that exist,” said Jo Grady, the UCU general secretary.

      “External examiners are vitally important both to protecting educational standards and to the sector’s academic reputation but they want to support colleagues who face pension cuts, insecure contracts, spiralling workloads and pay inequality.

      “Universities must now recognise the strength of feeling that exists across the workforce and make substantial changes in the way they treat staff or they will undoubtedly face not just further industrial action, but also more withdrawals of cooperation.”

      A spokesperson for the Universities and Colleges Employers Association said the protest “does not seem to reflect accurately the issues” in the current industrial disputes.

      “Many universities have also been in dialogue with their unions over the wider employment issues that have been packaged in to one of these disputes and it is wrong to assert that there is any unwillingness within universities to discuss and address these issues,” the association said.

      A spokesperson for the industry body Universities UK said: “It is right that university staff should expect good working conditions, fair pay and an attractive pension. This is what universities are striving to provide.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/jan/22/senior-uk-academics-protest-over-pay-and-working-conditions

    • Picket Line Perspectives: UCU pickets across the UK

      Sixty universities across the UK are taking part in the current UCU strike action over pay, pensions, and poor working conditions. On day 4 of the 8-day strike, six striking historians give us the view from picket lines across the country.

      Royal Holloway, University of London

      Emily Manktelow – Senior Lecturer in Colonial and Global History

      One of the nice things about Royal Holloway’s big Founder’s Building clock is that you can arrive “on the stroke” of things. As such, I arrived on the stroke of 8am Monday morning to join the picket lines of the Egham Campus. The rain was both mizzling and persistent, but I like to think the picket I was on was buoyed by the presence of my dog Teddy, one of the many #dogsonpicketlines up and down the country that morning. Not being a fan of the rain, his big brown eyes really got across the pathos of inequality, low pay and casualisation. Standing at the pedestrian crossing gate opposite student halls, we got a lot of support from students, some encouraging car honks and a round of applause from a passing nurse. We also got shouted at by a man leaning out of his van at the traffic lights. “Get a f***ing education”, he yelled with somewhat pleasing irony. I guess he could have been saying “Give a f***ing education’, but that seems unlikely.

      On the picket line the main talk was of equality: fair pay and casualisation were definitely the issues that resonated most with staff. Whereas during the last strikes the focus was very-much on the pension cuts, this time around there was a certain amount of discomfort with our ‘USS Pension Strike’ signs. This discomfort resonates more widely with the dominance on social media of the second part of the industrial action ballot: pay and working conditions. While RHUL is proud of its roots in female education – indeed, the sports teams’ colours are the suffragette colours and our new library is in the brand-new Emily Wilding Davison building – we have the 7th worst gender pay gap in the sector (24.9%). Our Surrey campus, meanwhile, is much too white for its proximity to Hounslow, Acton and Staines. As staff members and departments these are issues we have been trying to face with student-led BAME initiatives and projects to diversify our curriculum, but both the national and local picture remain alarming at best, and indicting at worst. The national gender pay gap is 15% (2018) while the ethnic minority pay gap in Russell Group institutions is an astonishing 26% (2018). Closer to home for we historians the Royal Historical Society’s ‘Race, Ethnicity and Equality Report’ found that only 11% of history students nationwide are from BAME backgrounds and that 96.1% of university historians are white.

      Casualisation, meanwhile, is also stark. RHUL relies upon 62% casualised labour. Nationally the figure stands at 68% with many institutions even higher. At last year’s Modern British Studies Conference forum on early career casualisation I was struck not only by the devastating figures, but even more so by the feeling of ECRs on the panel that their work wasn’t valued: that their teaching was underpaid and unstable, and even more so that their research was considered pointless or trivial. This really felt like a punch in the gut, and in a stupidly tone-deaf and rambling question I prattled on about imposter syndrome without really interacting with the structural issues that these academics were so eloquently describing. Yes, we all have moments of feeling that we don’t belong. These young colleagues were being both told and shown that they didn’t by university structures and leaderships that relied upon their work at the same time as marginalising their existence. This is deeply shameful, and absolutely worth striking for.

      I don’t know if these issues have got worse since the last strikes, but I do know that their importance has magnified. Colleagues and I have been trying to work out why that is. Our suggestions are undoubtedly only part of the wider picture, but tended to circle around greater visibility through social media and more attention to mental health issues in academia (particularly after the tragic death of Dr Malcolm Anderson at Cardiff University earlier this year). Moreover, for me at least, the last round of strikes burnt up my goodwill towards universities as institutions. I love my job, and I am extremely fortunate to be one of the lucky ones in a permanent position. I joined RHUL in August 2018 and have been extremely happy there so far, with great colleagues, a vibrant department, and enthusiastic and engaged students. But in 2018 university leaderships across the country certainly demonstrated that we are only numbers on a spreadsheet in the corridors of power. Our goodwill is lost in a vacuum of number-crunching, pound signs and recruitment figures.

      Universities rely on our commitment to research and teaching in order to exploit us. They rely on our gratitude for having a job to overwork us. They rely on our commitment to get the job done to cut our pay by nearly 20% in real terms since 2009. They rely on casualised staff who are chronically underpaid, live in a world of instability and insecurity every day, and internalise the sector’s exploitation as a narrative of insufficiency. The money is there: for pensions, for fractional and permanent contracts, for redressing the pay gaps and investing in eradicating student attainment gaps. We don’t need new halls charging exorbitant rent to already over-squeezed students. We don’t need recruitment targets, TEFs, REFs and KEFs. We need equality, security, fair workloads and fair pay. Is that so much to ask?

      University of Cambridge

      George Morris – PhD Student in History

      As in the last strike, the solidarity shown by undergraduate students, and the presence of postgrads on the picket lines, has been of huge value, not just in boosting numbers and morale – and providing sustenance in the form of tea and cake – but in showing the strength of feeling, and the deep care and support, on which the university runs. The practical solidarity shown between staff and students (and, here in Cambridge, a visiting Billy Bragg) is an expression of more everyday solidarities, which function despite the pressure of poor working conditions. If it seems like the strike offers an alternative idea of the university, it is because of this; people gathering, meeting, and talking in ways we don’t have time to otherwise.

      At many universities, students have been misleadingly told that they aren’t allowed to join the picket lines. The fact is that staff and students care about one another more than VCs care about either. Despite the cynical co-option of a language of care, more or less direct threats to discipline students, particularly those who might fall fowl of visa restrictions, suggest the limits of management’s feeling for students affected by the strike.

      Though the issues at dispute have now broadened, this in basically a continuation of the last wave of strike action, the longest in the history of British universities. The strike proved to be effective, to have the support of students, and to have highlighted working conditions in a sector too easily dismissed by observers as a world of ivory towers. Though the methods of the dispute are traditional ones – pickets, student occupations, Billy Bragg – the realities of university employment differ radically from the workplaces for which such tactics were devised. This doesn’t mean that universities are out of touch; on the contrary, these dispersed institutions, in which employees are expected to work for love not money, have much in common with seemingly very different occupations in contemporary Britain.

      Everybody on the picket lines is fighting for pensions, fair pay and an end to precarity. But, as was the case last time, they’re fighting for the future of universities too. For those of us who are doing graduate work, and who look ahead to a future of precarious employment, it may well be that our biggest ‘contribution to the field’ is the fight for the future of higher education.

      University of Bristol

      Will Pooley – Lecturer in Modern European History

      This is What Winning Looks Like

      I’m fortunate to work with many colleagues who recognize the importance of the union, and of this strike.

      But before the strike began, I spoke to several colleagues who weren’t members, and weren’t planning to join us. One of them told me, ‘I don’t think we can win this fight.’

      I’ve been thinking a lot about this on the first few days on the picket.

      No one is pretending that the issues are simple. Different union branches are on strike on either one of two different grounds – pensions and pay – or on both. The ins and outs of the pension dispute are hard even for staff to understand, let alone members of the public and students. And the pay dispute is not just about stagnating pay or pay devaluation, but also covers pay inequality, job insecurity, and rising workloads.

      Resolutions to all of these disputes are unlikely to be simple or quick. Precarious employment practices and unsafe workloads are so ingrained in how modern universities work that undoing them is going to take sustained work over the long term.

      But if victory is a process, not a moment, then there are signs that we are already winning.

      Winning is recognition in national media coverage that the current system is broken.

      Winning is the incredible support our students have shown us.

      Winning is our democratically-elected representatives coming down to the pickets to hear directly from staff about the strike.

      Winning is the creativity and camaraderie of the picket.

      Those of us who were also on strike in 2018 remember how uplifting it was to just spend time talking to our colleagues and students. In our current broken system, who has time for that?

      Winning is the Vice-Chancellor of our university coming out on to the pickets and the marches to speak to staff, and even to listen to our concerns. (When I heard him, he was being roundly criticised by hourly-paid teachers about their working conditions.)

      And winning is the growing group of Vice-Chancellors speaking out to support greater pension contributions from employers.

      Of course the fight is not over.

      Vice-Chancellors talking to picketers, or even publicly declaring their sympathy is not the same as Vice-Chancellors taking concrete steps to address our concerns. Some of the fixes could be a lot faster than university ‘leaders’ sometimes pretend. I’d like to see my own employer adopt the approach to pay gaps championed by the University of Essex. To close their gender pay gap among professors, they simply increased all female professors’ pay.

      We can hope, can’t we? My overwhelming memory of the 2018 strikes is anger. But what I’d like to say to my pessimist colleague – and indeed to any other colleagues who have not yet joined – is something about how hope is replacing my anger.

      We are slowly winning this, and it’s never too late to join us.

      University of Edinburgh

      Fraser Raeburn – Lecturer in Modern European History

      Last time around, striking felt liberating. The picket line seemed to be the first space capable of overcoming the atomisation of academic life, a place where conversations could happen spontaneously, unhurriedly and across subject borders and hierarchies, the kinds of conversations most of us became academics to have. The result was a sense of solidarity that felt exhilaratingly unfamiliar, an emotional high that pushed people through a long series of strikes to their successful conclusion.

      This time, that exhilaration seems to be gone. Not because there are fewer people out, or because there is no solidarity to be found – quite the contrary. Part of the reason, inevitably, is the sheer awfulness of Edinburgh’s November weather, which has had a quite literal numbing effect. I also suspect that the novelty for most participants has worn off somewhat – the sense of giddy surprise at the power of the picket as a human space was never going to be fully recaptured. Perhaps above all though, we are all tired. This has been a long, difficult semester, perhaps only incrementally more difficult than the last one (which was only a little more difficult than the one before) but we are all reaching or approaching the end of our tethers. We are simply exhausted.

      This exhaustion is why we’re striking. Many of us – particularly those of us on temporary, precarious contracts – feel like we’re being pushed to breaking point, working unsustainable hours, pushing through illness and lack of sleep to deliver teaching on a scale that seemed unimaginable a generation ago. Exhaustion, on this picket line, is not weakness, it is determination: we can’t go on like this, and the only option we have left is to challenge the system itself.

      Pensions were a strong rallying point, as they affected our collective futures so tangibly, and the deal being offered was so transparently, unnecessarily cruel. It became clear during that strike, however, that this was the tip of the iceberg when it came to structural issues in UK academia. The ambition of this strike is, well, striking. We are attempting not just to address the lingering issue of pensions, but the much wider problems of workload, precarity and the pay gaps along the lines of gender, race and disability.

      These are issues that require different conversations than last time around. Much of the debate around pensions was technical – what can really be afforded, how to calculate contributions and risk, what assumptions are built into the models. This time, we need to communicate truths that are more personal and emotional, lifting the curtain not just on what is happening behind the scenes of our universities, but what is happening behind the facades we put up in the classroom as we perform our roles as enthusiastic, engaged and energetic teachers. These are facades we’ve often built up just a little too well – we are good at our jobs, after all – but if we want students to understand why we’re striking, they need to come down.

      University of Cambridge
      Elly Robson, Research Fellow
      .
      The mood on the pickets in Cambridge has been buoyant – bolstered further by celebrity visits from Ai Weiwei and Billy Bragg. No one wants to be on strike, but there is widespread recognition among students and staff that the future of higher education is at stake. The tripling of tuition fees under the Lib Dem-Tory government in 2009 accelerated a restructuring of the university sector along highly marketised lines. This same trend has profoundly degraded the conditions, pay, and pensions of workers in the university – those whose labour is the very lifeblood of these institutions. This strike poses the question of who and what the university is for. It also widens the terms of the struggle to highlight how the young and precarious, women, BME and disabled academics and staff are hit hardest by pay freezes, short-term and zero-hours contracts, and escalating workloads.

      What cabinet ministers, university managers and pension actuarialists failed to factor into their calculations was the potential for these shared struggles to converge. This week, I have watched horizontal solidarities, forged in the 2018 strikes, deepen and grow on the picket lines in Cambridge. The picket is a radical pedagogical space, in which learning takes unexpected forms and militates against the hierarchies of the classroom. We stand to learn a huge deal from the energy, organisation and vision of the students supporting the strike. The strike doesn’t just demand that “another university is possible”, but brings it into being at the level of practice: in tea-runs and teach-outs, creative placards and the political education of collective action. And there is so much that can be brought back into, and enrich, the classroom from this shared experience. Most strikingly, as Billy Bragg reminded our large rally yesterday, activism is the antidote to cynicism. Without it, we are lost.
      .
      .
      .
      University of Manchester
      .

      Misha Ewen – Research Fellow in Political Economy

      I joined the University of Manchester last year and this is my first experience of the picket line. What I’ve witnessed so far is solidarity. Solidarity between students and staff, with students also recognising that the casualisation of academic labour impacts the education that they receive. With the rise in tuition fees, it seems to me that students are also frustrated with the increasing marketisation of university education, and with a general election looming it feels like both on and off the picket line there’s a chance for real change.

      I also see the strike as an opportunity to educate students about the realities of academic labour, pay and conditions: some academic staff, who teach their courses and supervise their dissertations, are on precarious contracts, might not receive the same pay as colleagues doing equivalent work, and do work (including teaching) that is not in their contracts and goes unpaid. In this highly competitive job market, Early Career Researchers (ECRs) are often made to feel that they should be grateful for any employment and experience that strengthens their CVs, even when the conditions they face are unethical and exploitative. So, for me, fighting for fairer pay and conditions is deeply personal. I’m proud to say that over the past two days senior staff, ECRs and students have stood side-by-side in the rain (it’s Manchester, what did we expect?), but it hasn’t dampened the feeling that we’re all in this together.

      http://www.historyworkshop.org.uk/picket-line-perspectives-ucu-pickets-across-the-uk