The UCU Weeengland recently suspended its boycott of clearing. This was in recognition of the need to preserve jobs, in a year when fees have increased to £9000. Certain staff expressed their disdain, accusing the UCU locally of, I quote, “spineless compromise with the feckless bastards selling out higher education.” The coordinating committee endorses this view, and apologises for its initial error of judgment. Following an emergency SKYPE meeting we have resolved to take the fight to the buccaneers and privateers ravaging our University. We call on all UCU members to:
1. Take your full right to annual leave of 35 days, in conjunction with your right to a period of undisturbed academic research. This amounts to thirteen weeks of continuous leave. Staff should not be compelled to mark, set or supervise rewrite exams in August. Staff should not attend exam boards in September. This may result in students failing to progress in to second or third year. However, we have ignored the erosion of the academic contract for too long. If you have not taken annual leave, do so now. We trust that those students compelled to repeat a year will empathise with union members who have no choice. We trust that the University will not compromise academic standards by allowing students to progress without appropriate evaluation of their work.
2. Email your local manager and encourage her/him to explain to students that staff are merely exercising their entitlements following four years of pay reductions, the privatisation of services in the University, and the sexual practices of senior management revealed in recent newspaper coverage.
The union categorically denies claims in today’s newspaper concerning the sexual peccadilloes of unnamed activists, in classrooms, on desks, and in toilets. We recognise that the sexual lives of our members are private, but encourage members to exercise due restraint in the workplace. These lurid allegations say everything about the integrity of those making the accusations.
3. Petition your national union executive committee. The union has been colonised by anxious, lily livered liberals too scared to support you and your legitimate struggles. Demonstrate your support for the UCU left, a coalition of union members with a range of views, all of whom are committed to furthering the class struggle against capital. Your local representative of ALTRA (Alliance of Trotskyite Revolutionary Activists) will advise interested staff on appropriate action.
4. Suspend, immediately, all further recruitment activities. You have worked hard enough. As the recently retired Head of Registry notes, this failure is not yours. The University must draw upon its cash reserves to support subject areas where there is under recruitment. The UCU anticipates appropriate actions from the Academic Board once it has reflected on the failures of the senior management and its lackeys.
5. The local coordinating committee is committed to fighting on all fronts against the neoliberal invasion of the University campus. Reclaim our classrooms! Reclaim your education! Occupy! Aluta Continua!!!!
Rebecca Halstead, on behalf of the UCU, University of Weeengland.