GH Tutors and Demonstrators

Guaranteed hours tutors and demonstrators update
In response to employment issues raised by the UCU Edinburgh Postgrad/Postdoc Network (UCUE PG/PD network), a meeting took place Friday, October 13th between representatives from senior University management, UCUE officers, representatives of the UCUE PG/PD Network, and representatives from the other campus trade unions. 
 
After a productive discussion, agreement was reached in three areas: 1) a plan to advertise the publication of the new ‘Policy for the Recruitment, Support and Development of Tutors and Demonstrators’ (which can be found at the URL below); 2) an undertaking by management representatives to discuss our proposals on interim changes in practice to Charlie Jeffery, Senior Vice-Principal, and the Heads of College in CAHSS and CSE; and 3) a reaffirmed commitment to addressing UCUE’s local claim on Guaranteed Hours (GH) staff, with an initial pilot project working with LLC and ECA to explore alternatives to the GH model (first meeting on Monday 16th October).
 
In addition, it was noted that the topic of GH staffing will be discussed at a future meeting of Senate.
 
We will keep you updated with developments, and ask that you keep us informed about how the new Policy is being implemented via the PG/PD Network.
UoE Tutors and demonstrators policy
The recently launched policy for tutors and demonstrators states that tutors should be paid for all work deemed necessary by Schools to perform their duties: this include preparation time, marking and other forms of assessment. Mandatory training and meetings should also be paid for. The policy also reviews the ‘cap’ on working hours for PhD tutors.
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Equality Groups Conference

The Annual Equality Groups Conference 2017 will take place 23 – 25 November 2017. It will take place at Novotel Birmingham Central.

This conference is an opportunity to discuss and agree strategies to progress equality issues at work. The three days includes separate sessions for black, disabled, LGBT and women members. A joint plenary session brings us all together as well as separate workshops for FE and HE members. Plenty of opportunities to network too. 

For more information and to register click on the link below. 

https://www.ucu.org.uk/membersannualgroupsconference

Free UCU membership for PhD students

UCU continues to fight for  early career and casualised members, the latter an increasing category of staff in UK universities. We campaign for casualised members’ rights on both a national and a local level, with the most recent move aiming to improve conditions for PhD students.
From 1 October UCU will offer free membership to PhD students who also work for the university. This decision, which covers around 70,000 staff, has been made to support young and casualised academics. These staff members are often placed on precarious contracts and without adequate access to resources, and their concerns are often ignored. As UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt writes in Times Higher Education:
‘[W]hat makes the usually young, always passionately committed, hourly paid teachers and contract researchers I talk to even angrier than their exploitative treatment by universities is that whenever the issue of casual contracts is aired, their existence is denied, swept under the carpet or explained away as a perk. … These people are the future of our profession, yet the sector treats them as if they are expendable – using employment models one might expect to find in a Sports Direct warehouse, but not a university.’
So: join the union today, and ask your colleagues and students to do the same!

Support the livelihoods and careers of Turkish academics and PhD students who are victims of repression

solidaritycampaign_0Posted on behalf of BAK (Academics for Peace) Edinburgh

Background: In an increasingly authoritarian political climate in Turkey, dissident views are being repressed and one of the areas hit hardest has been academia. The state has recently assumed control over all public universities, using the state of emergency to give President Erdogan the right to appoint rectors. Academics have been dismissed from their posts by decree, with no legal mechanism to appeal. So far over 11,000 have been purged (the last 4,000 by decree just a few days after Erdogan’s victory in the recent referendum), and those who have lost their jobs describe their situation as a kind of “civil death”, in which they are unable to find employment in academia or even in the private sphere, where employers fear retribution for taking on a person labelled by the state as a “terrorist”.

Among the most vulnerable of these academics are the signatories of the Academics for Peace (BAK) petition. These are the 2,212 academics, including over 800 doctoral candidates, who signed a petition calling for an end to state violence in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey. In consequence, many of them have been subjected to death threats, prosecutions, harassment, scapegoating by state-controlled media, and the “civil death” described above. The state is targeting voices like the Academics for Peace as a way of suppressing dissident views, of polarising society and of mobilising support. The ongoing state of emergency provides virtually unlimited powers to do so.

Our group and aim: In this context, BAK support groups have been set up in Universities in the US and Canada, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK, which seek to provide support for these academics. Our group is one of these, and includes PG and UG students, as well as academics, mostly from SSPS and LLC. We are in close contact with another such group at the University of Stirling.

 Through the BAK network, we have carried out a survey among the 800 PhD/graduate signatories, and received 63 responses. Among these 49 are under investigation; 25 have been removed from their studentships; and 21 have had their passports confiscated. A small number are in dire straits financially. Unfortunately, as PhD students these individuals are not eligible for the hardship support provided by Egitim-Sen, the Turkish HE Union. Furthermore, PhD students and recent graduates are not covered by the definition of “academics” used by groups like CARA (the Council for At-Risk Academics).

 Our aim is to work with the University and UCU to provide support particularly for current PhD students and recent graduates, signatories of the BAK petition, to continue their studies, and maintain an affiliation to the academic community. To achieve this, we are working to set up a Remote Visiting Student Scheme, involving financial hardship support, online access to UoE library resources and academic mentoring on a voluntary basis by UoE staff.

Your Support is Vital: To achieve our aims, particularly in relation to hardship support, we urgently seek donations from all colleagues who are concerned by the plight of their fellow academics in Turkey. This support could make all the difference for early career scholars who are at risk, enabling them to continue with their dissertations and expand their academic opportunities and horizons beyond Turkey.

Support for 6 individuals to continue their PhD studies for a year, calculated on the basis of the Turkish minimum wage, would require fundraising of £23,000. 

We plan to launch an online fundraising platform soon. In the meantime, we will be collecting cash donations at the UCU Edinburgh AGM on 13 June. Please consider making a contribution: no donation is too small.

If you would like to be actively involved in the BAK Edinburgh group please drop us a line: edinburghbak@gmail.com

Stand up to Racism demonstration, Glasgow 18th March 2017

Stand up to Racism Scotland calls on everyone to mobilise to ensure that the March 18th 2017 demonstration in Glasgow is a massive success. Following Trump’s ban on Muslims and refugees, we will send out a clear message that we will not tolerate racism, discrimination, and division in our community.
STUR demo Supported by EIS, Peoples Assemby Scotland, RMT Scotland, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, STUC, UCU Scotland, Unison Scotland, Unite Scotland, Muslim Women’s Association of Edinburgh.

Assemble 11am in Holland Street, Glasgow
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Holland+St,+Glasgow+G2+4NB/@55.8643181,-4.2690656,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x48884428787a6345:0xfe7cd9ee5cfb781d!8m2!3d55.8643181!4d-4.2668769

March to George Square, 12 o’clock rally.

Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1584165985223946/

Change!

change

As part of the Scottish Union Learning young workers’ project, you are invited to “Change!”, an evening of literature hosted by young and migrant workers.

Taking place from 6.30pm on Thursday 16th March at the STUC building on Woodlands Road in Glasgow, we hope that you will help us celebrate the launch of our new book, which has been written about and by people on zero hours contracts. With the title being revealed on the night, we’ll hear excerpts read by young writers and activists who will share their lives on zero hour contracts with us.

Pinar Aksu

Pinar Aksu

We will also hear from Pinar Aksu, Community Development worker with Migrant Voice, and participants from the “A Story in a Poem project” who will read some of the poems they have written about their journey to Scotland.

Refreshments will be provided so get there early to avoid missing out!

From precarious work to precarious lives, the theme of the evening is ‘Change’ and what this means for us in 2017. As a labour movement, we want to ensure that we are inclusive and seek new opportunities of integration for all.

More information

UCU Elections: a message from the Branch Committee

UCU Edinburgh branch committee would like to take this opportunity to clarify the situation in relation to the event taking place on campus on 6th February.  The Future of Higher Education and UCU: UCU General Secretary Election Hustings is being held as one of four such events across Scotland over 6th-7th February.

For the avoidance of doubt, these have not been organised by UCU Edinburgh, UCU Scotland or UCU nationally and we are unable to answer any queries about them.  Please address any questions you have to the event organisers.

Individuals and groupings within UCU are at liberty to organise independent events as they so choose. We do not seek to make any recommendations for or against.

The branch committee did discuss the possibility of holding a hustings but decided that, within available time and resources, this was not feasible.  If you are interested in us doing this for future elections, please let us know.  If you can volunteer to assist, even better.

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Links for more information