Academic common room
CatandtheFiddle · 25/05/2020 17:04
Has anyone seen the moves they're making to suggest another round of strikes?
Activists in my branch seem up for it. I maybe should send them links to some of the really VICIOUS posts about academics here in MN. Or the petition with over 300,000 signatures about refunding fees for 2019-20?
Led by donkeys, in all sorts of ways ...
DominaShantotto · 25/05/2020 17:09
Oh for fuck's sake. I cannot (as a student) take another spate of them blowing their Tesco party bag kids whistles and the really really shit strike music playlist while we're trying to sit through lectures!
Anyone in the union - can you at least get the strike playlist to a tolerable level cos it was crap!
impostersyndrome · 25/05/2020 17:48
I cannot begin to fathom how anyone thinks this is a good idea. And what will they be striking for? Are they determined to make universities go completely bankrupt or what?
GCAcademic · 25/05/2020 22:02
Just when you think UCU can’t get any more delusional and out of touch . . .
You’d think that they would have their hands full with trying to minimise the inevitable redundancies that are coming our way.
Bingobango69 · 27/05/2020 14:04
Classic UCU Left /SWP behaviour
Nearlyalmost50 · 27/05/2020 14:23
This isn't appropriate. There will be widespread redundancies in the sector, or pay cuts, so they should be addressing shoring up that.
CatandtheFiddle · 27/05/2020 15:11
The information that Twitter thread gives is really concerning. Surely, UCU can't precipitate us into another strike? It would be suicide.
DominaShantotto · 27/05/2020 20:54
Well on the plus side, if lectures are online - they'll have nowt to picket.
Chemenger · 28/05/2020 11:46
One of the things my local branch is beside themselves with fury about is the whole idea of having to spend time producing recorded lectures. They are apoplectic that the university has said there will be hybrid teaching and adamant that none of them knew anything about it before it appeared in the press. I have been to approximately a million meetings about hybrid teaching so I can only assume they’ve been spending lockdown under a stone, only coming out to complain about the injustice of having their pay docked for the strike.
CatandtheFiddle · 28/05/2020 12:27
Mike Otsuka on Twitter has an excellent thread on the madness of the far left faction in UCU.
ghislaine · 28/05/2020 15:35
At my uni, they have rejected the UUK offer on the basis that, inter alia, having had their pay docked for going on strike, the university has refused to reimburse them their docked pay.
My institution is facing losses of ten of millions!
HeronLanyon · 28/05/2020 15:43
I have friends who teach my profession at university level. As far as I know the ucu campaign is really important. Decades of underfunding of higher education, Many thousands now on precarious contracts - hourly paid rather than full time employees - with no protection, gender pay difference which is astoundingly poor with women earning far less than men for the same work, pensions in effect stolen, poor bame recruitment/retention/promotion etc.huge pay losses over the years. Why so much hate for employees of major economy supporting industry standing up for their rights ?
GCAcademic · 28/05/2020 16:42
Er, we are those employees, HeronLanyon, not just friends of, and some of us are UCU members. Our universities have each lost tens of millions of pounds so far due to the pandemic, and it will be more still in the next financial year. Now is not the time to go on strike demanding more pay when university staff are going to be laid off in their droves. That’s what UCU should be focusing their attention on. Many of UCU’s demands were unrealistic in the extreme, even before the pandemic hit. Now we risk looking even more elitist and out of touch than the public already thinks we are.
ghislaine · 28/05/2020 17:15
I don't hate my unionised colleagues. But their reasoning abilities surprise me.
Chemenger · 28/05/2020 17:34
I find their obvious hatred of the organisation they work for quite disturbing at times.
impostersyndrome · 28/05/2020 20:08
Added to the railroading of strikes despite the misgivings of most university staff about damaging our students’ education rather than, say, refusing to do extras such as education, Heron, many of the union’s demands are outside of the control of the universities. Precarity for teaching staff is problematic and arguably might be improved if course recruitment was stabilised, but that of research staff is part of a much bigger picture of how research is funded. Unless the entire system is changed (and be careful what you wish for, as the likely alternative is concentrated funded in a few research-focused universities), the system of staggering from one postdoctoral post to another is unlikely to change.
CatandtheFiddle · 28/05/2020 22:07
As far as I know the ucu campaign is really important. Decades of underfunding of higher education, Many thousands now on precarious contracts - hourly paid rather than full time employees
Yes, all this, but I'm not sure the current UCU leadership is competent or strategic enough to work through the process in appropriate ways. Strike action is a very blunt & crude instrument - there are better ways.
Valkadin · 29/05/2020 09:53
My friend has accepted voluntary redundancy as a senior lecturer from the red brick University he has worked in over the last 15 years. I worked in higher ed for 25 years as a librarian but am out of it thank God. DH is a Professor so I still hear all about the situation straight from the horses mouth. Are they being deliberately dim? the pandemic is going to affect higher education in a terrible way, some Universities may not survive.
I was a trade union rep for many years and yes many unions are dominated by people grinding their political axes to further their particular brand of left wing dogma, mainly SWP. But many that are really there for the workers and are not affiliated to any party really get attacked. I remember those times, I remember being called a fucking reformist at a conference once. The left have a huge amount of infighting and it is especially bad amongst unions.
Pota2 · 29/05/2020 13:42
They’re deluded. Makes me really pleased I left UCU among the last round of strikes. They need to admit that their actions have left everyone who went on strike worse off. The deal that Jo Grady is now apparently wanting to accept (but the branches are rejecting) involves USS contributions at a higher rate than what was offered by the employers last year in return for calling off the strikes (9.6 vs 9.1%). There are lots of people in the UCU who are wilfully blind to the fact that they have been taken for mugs and that it’s the union’s fault for pushing an unrealistic and aggressive strike.
I also cannot bear the number of twitter posts whining about having to do online teaching and that the huge amount of work involved means that the employers should reimburse all strike deductions (but apparently still continue the dispute). I genuinely despair, when many are risking their lives going to work. Lots of institutions will be fucked by this crisis and some may have to close. Now is not the time to be arguing the toss about a pension contribution rate (especially when you could have had a higher rate if you weren’t he’ll-bent on showing everyone what a tough comrade you were).
And I agree with a pp about funding structures. There are loads of precariously employed people in academia because academics apply for grants and work on a time-limited project. Universities cannot make them all permanent because they are working on a specific funded project. Academics wanting teaching buy-out also generate a need for temporary teaching posts which then come to an end when the academic’s project ends. This is not the sort of shit that can be resolved without fucking huge structural changes (which by the way many of the securely employed loudmouths on twitter who talk about their socialist credentials would HATE because their promotions and successes have come directly off the back of the precarity of others).
There. Rant over. Never rejoining UCU as long as I live.
Nearlyalmost50 · 30/05/2020 14:39
I also resigned. I feel it would be so wrong for the students, who already had a crap year last year, to be further penalized, it will be bad enough this coming year.
The whole sector is now precarious- see SOAS, there will be lots of redundancies and quibbling over a tiny difference in pension contributions will look insignificant in comparison to the scale of job losses.
Daca · 30/05/2020 16:40
Hi Heron, I really don’t hate my colleagues who have stayed in UCU but I have too many misgivings myself to remain a paid up member. The issues you cite sound like they’re straight from this spring’s UCU strike flyer, and I wouldn’t take all of these claims at face value (e.g. as far as I know there are no reliable figures on a BAME pay gap). There’s some very poor leadership in the union, allegations of covering up abuse, a general secretary who puts her own political hobbyhorse above bread and butter issues ... and there are some interesting characters responsible for union policy e.g. the UCU officer for Equality and Diversity who has also been a Green Party activist in Birmingham and involved in LGBT+ education in schools, an area that is coming under increased scrutiny, in particular regarding the teaching of ‘gender identity’. By which I mean to say that it appears that UCU attracts political activists that are not necessarily focused on Higher Ed and/or tolerant of the wide range of views that is bound to exist in a diverse and very internationalised workforce.
Pota2 · 30/05/2020 16:52
There have also been allegations of serious bullying in branches, with some branch twitter accounts blocking female academics the committee doesn’t like. One of the HEC women’s officers, Jo Edge, is incredibly abusive to those who disagree with her online and is totally unsuited to that role as is Jo Grady with her use of terfblocker, which she cynically disabled as soon as she needed votes.
The figures used in the strike materials are bollocks, in particular the claim that salaries have dropped by 20% in 10 years. That’s a total lie. Their claims have been debunked but they refuse to amend the literature. The strike achieved nothing and meant that those who least afford it lost 22 days pay.
Daca · 30/05/2020 17:01
Jo Edge’s tweets are quite disturbing. If I were a student, I’d be scared to speak in seminars lest I said something wrong.
Pota2 · 30/05/2020 19:36
Agree Daca. I would be really worried about disagreeing with her.
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