Doctoral researchers - would you want to show your support for UCU members taking industrial action?
Doctoral students are writing a joint letter to the Jeremy Bradshaw, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International & Doctoral) to express solidarity with striking UCU members for their workloads and planned increases in staff pension contributions, and to move away from precarious contracts for GTAs (doctoral students carrying out casual teaching work).
If you want to register your support, you can add your name to a joint letter that will be sent to Jeremy Bradshaw (the Googledoc of the letter is here). Many doctoral students have already added their names.
If you are experiencing difficulty with the Googledoc but would like your name to be included, please contact Frances Mary Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org for your name to be added.
The full text of the letter is below.
The SU supports the strikers, following a student referendum which strongly supported the industrial action.
For the Attention of: Professor Jeremy Bradshaw, Pro-Vice Chancellor (International & Doctoral)
Cc: Professor Ian White, Vice-Chancellor and President; Cassie Wilson, Vice-President (Student Experience); Professor Jonathan Knight, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research), Dr David Moon (UCU President);
RE: Industrial Action 25-29/11 and 2-4/12
We write as PGRs enrolled at the Doctoral College at the University of Bath to express our support for and solidarity with UCU members currently taking industrial action. We are in support of the call for improvements in pay and equality; current workloads have been unsustainable for some time with deleterious effects on staff wellbeing. We therefore join the call for a reduction in workloads, immediate and effective actions to eliminate gender and BME pay gaps, further actions to eliminate precarious employment practices by the university, and a permanent end to rises in pension contributions.
Members of staff embarking on industrial action are our colleagues and friends; in some cases, we have worked together for several years now and we are witnesses to the effects of an increasingly damaging and alienating working environment. Many of us will seek careers in academia following completion, and thus join the movement for meaningful improvements in pay, working conditions and pensions.
In addition to this, many of us have experiences as GTAs, where we have effectively been working to zero-hour contracts. We urge the university to eliminate this practice and to end precarious and exploitative working conditions with the greatest urgency.
Finally, we recognise this period of industrial action and the broader movement as an opportunity for envisioning and working towards the form of university we desire: one that provides holistic care and valuing of all staff and students and that is meaningfully democratic in form.
We eagerly await your response.
With kind regards,