Workshop notes, #UCUTransformed

The following notes were documented during the various workshops

Moving into action, Organising to GTVO and strike

  • Take-away points / memorable moments. Importance of Preparing The Ground before ballot. GTVO not just bureaucratic but political campaign. How to keep the momentum going that the strike has built. Broaden the scope of the things we challenge.
  • Suggested actions. Investigate issues with electronic voting. Find a balance between local and national issues.

#NoCapitulation, using social media

  • Decisions. Extend use in FE – training sessions?
  • Take-away points / memorable moments. Social media is an add on and can catalyse but not replace organising. Builds community identity but can exclude. Anonymise, share responsibility, have agreed guidelines to protect branch.

Democratising the union: putting members at the centre of change

  • Decisions Add equality/disability awareness / inc in organising events
  • Take-away points / memorable moments Clyde Workers Committee 1915: ‘We will support the officials just so long as they represent the workers, but we will act independently immediately they misrepresent them’.
  • Suggested actions Hold academic conference on this matter, congruent with who we are and what we do, publish papers etc.. Think of ways to replicate the GTVO campaign / picket line mobilisation. Demand that key papers from HEC and FEC meetings be published. Sheffield’s Democracy Review motion
  • Questions raised (still to be answered)
    • How do we increase members’ knowledge about the union?
    • Is it too late to influence the JEP? Is this not a problem of a general democratic deficit?
  • Other Role of the Special Higher Education Sector Conference – depending on when, what its potential could be.

Reclaiming our Colleges: Students and workers organising together

  • Take-away points / memorable moments Teachouts and solidarity between students and staff. Building horizontal relationships. Not Student Union but grassroots. Building standing committees with staff and students. Lack of effective pre-strike communication between UCU and SU in some campuses
  • Suggested actions Questions of Governance (Scotland as an example?). Campaigns in defence of Statutes. For democratising our colleges. Building joint student+staff solidarity committees with a view to calling general assemblies. Continue teach-ins? Regular newsletter. Fight for education as a whole. International movement.
  • Questions raised (still to be answered) Solidarity with other university workers (e.g. cleaners, security, etc.) who also have been striking for their rights? What should students do to reclaim their students union?
  • Other University bureaucratisation & increasing admin tasks issue – important for both students and workers

 Equality Through and Through: Integrating equality demands in our industrial campaigns

  • Decisions Things must change on disabled access.
  • Take-away points / memorable moments Integrate equality. must be central to everything we do. eg pay claim to give more to lower graded workers, who are often Black members. union increase in FE in hourly paid, women, black members and disabled members are concentrated in this group and UCU must campaign for HPL as an equality issue. also pensions move to career average rather than final salary affects women (and disabled..).  HE: Cambridge used the USS strike to challenge racism and set up a network of women of Colour. new people involved must be included. ge in our access to our union events . disabled members demand we are included by equal acess and involved in planning for this in future. Midlands region has a number of equality reps at regional level and this should happen for every strand.
  • Suggested actions integrate equality. must be central to everything we do. eg pay claim to give more to lower graded workers, who are often Black members. union increase in FE in hourly paid, women, black members and disabled members are concenrtrated in this group and UCU must campaign for HPL as an equality issue. also pensions move to career average rather than final salary affects women (and disabled..).  HE: Cambridge used the USS strike to challenge racism and set up a network of women of Colour. new people involved must be included. ge in our access to our union events . disabled members demand we are included by equal acess and involved in planning for this in future.  women strike actions on 8th March in USS was a good step, but the fight to decolonise the universities and make them democratic goes on. The union is much too slow on sexual harassment.  can we integrate more carefully issues of sexual harassment
  • Questions raised (still to be answered) how can we frame our pay campaigns in such a way as to embed equality issues better?  how can we make disabiled access better (consult disabled members and campaign with us rather than put issues to back burner)  how do we shift the agenda so tht we are not limited to the constraints of the UCU lawyers advice and the law–which does not achieve equality. how do we stop Athena Swan being a token event
  • Other we have done well in winning the idea that we get equality on the agenda as an industtrial issue. we are serious about it and need to make the officials see it as an industrial issue. we need to make the union ask the question of the members, what does victory look like on equality questions?  more discussion on how everyone is involved in fighting for equality–eg not just women or not just black memebrs organising around equality. It must not be only the oppressed who are involved in changing things. should international issues be hived off into a seperate workshop from equallities in future?
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