Effective Industrial Action: What Does It Look Like?

This is clearly a crucial juncture for UCU members in higher education, and UCU Commons members were preparing a blog on the choices before us when the General Secretary issued a report containing very serious and substantial proposals for the future of the Four Fights dispute on Wednesday 13 April. We encourage everyone to readContinue reading “Effective Industrial Action: What Does It Look Like?”

UCU Commons Candidates for Equalities Standing Committees

A commitment to intersectional equalities work is central to UCU Commons, as set out in the first of our core values, where we state that we are for equality in all its forms. We are unequivocally committed to making our union and our workplaces trans-inclusive. We are anti-racist, anti-colonial, and opposed to the hostile environment.Continue reading “UCU Commons Candidates for Equalities Standing Committees”

Massaging the Figures on USS: How It’s Done

Are you a vice chancellor concerned for your employees’ quality of life in retirement? Worried that your performance doesn’t match your pay packet? No, we thought not. But you may be anxious about the UCU ballots for industrial action, including the dispute over the proposed cuts to USS pensions. Here are a few numerical sleightsContinue reading “Massaging the Figures on USS: How It’s Done”

UCU Commons Statement on the Labour Party, Transphobia, and LGBTQ+ Solidarity

Content warning: some transphobic language is quoted in this statement. UCU Commons writes today to stand in solidarity with all our trans, non-binary and gender diverse colleagues, comrades and students. We vehemently oppose all forms of transphobia and queerphobia, and we recognise that biphobia, homophobia, queerphobia and transphobia all amount to the same thing: bigotryContinue reading “UCU Commons Statement on the Labour Party, Transphobia, and LGBTQ+ Solidarity”

Why STEM Practitioners Need to Stand Up for Arts, Humanities and the Social Sciences

by Nicholas Chancellor A recent narrative which has proved popular with Tory politicians and their supporters (see for example: this announcement) is that students are being duped by ‘low value’ degrees in arts, humanities and social sciences. The idea is that these degree programs lead to hapless students taking jobs with lower starting salaries andContinue reading “Why STEM Practitioners Need to Stand Up for Arts, Humanities and the Social Sciences”

Gender Studies in the ‘Starbucks’ University

By: Ruth Holliday Author Note: Ruth Holliday is Professor of Gender and Culture at Leeds University, a Cultural Sociologist, and a UCU NEC representative for the North-East region. Despite the manufactured panic about ‘woke’ subjects like Critical Race Theory and ‘Critical Marxism’ as imagined threats to the free speech of academics everywhere, Gender Studies –Continue reading “Gender Studies in the ‘Starbucks’ University”

Creating Cracks for Collective Care in the Ruins of the University

Fostering collective care involves working together to create opportunities for rediscovering joy in what we do, as a priority need – without this joy, where do we find the necessary reserves to push for better higher education?

#ebooksos: Fighting the Enclosure of the Knowledge Commons

by Ben Purvis The oligopoly of academic publishers is widely recognised as a growing barrier to an open access knowledge commons in the digital age. The discourse typically focuses on academic journals, whose lucrative business model relies on the free labour of editors, reviewers, and authors, with the resultant product sold back to university librariesContinue reading “#ebooksos: Fighting the Enclosure of the Knowledge Commons”

Precarity, Mastery, and Vulnerability: Some Thoughts on UCU’s Recent Elections

by Tilly Fitzmaurice Two weeks ago, UCU members learned of the National Executive Committee election results. The six-week campaign period saw some acrimonious exchanges in the online sphere as the different groups within the union fought out their disagreements on multiple terrains. As the dust settles, a few reflections. For me, it’s no coincidence thatContinue reading “Precarity, Mastery, and Vulnerability: Some Thoughts on UCU’s Recent Elections”

Reissued: Candidate statement on transgender inclusion and academic freedom

Forward from Mark Pendleton, on why we are inviting representatives to sign this statement once again: “LGBT+ inclusion has been at the heart of our union’s politics for many years. We have also often led the trade union movement, being willing to defend LGBT+ members’ rights to safety and respect in work and beyond, andContinue reading “Reissued: Candidate statement on transgender inclusion and academic freedom”