This is a report back from the anti-casualisation workshop at the UCU Left conference, and forms part of the series of articles being discussed in the UCU Left Forum Another Education is Possible – please find the discussion online here.
The workshop was a well attended and lively workshop, which demonstrates that anti-casualisation is a vital part of our campaigning. The session was a practical workshop in order to develop ideas and practical steps for active campaigns at colleges and campuses. The session broke down into the three sector areas HE, FE and ACE in order for members to discuss the particular casualisation issues within their areas.
There were two key areas to the meeting: discussing how to take the campaign further and how reps can take individual cases (basics within the UCU Left HPL Toolkit).
The key ideas to help take the anti-casualisation campaign further were:
- To always start from the general principle that we do not accept the use of insecure casual contracts. Branches need to unite permanent members of staff and those on casual contracts to win this argument in the branch and with management. Casualisation is an issue for everyone.
- To take on the unfounded ‘economic argument’ that institutions can’t afford to move employees onto permanent contracts. Institutions need to ensure high rates of retention and success. If members are not given adequate resources, time and security it is more difficult to maintain high retention and success rates. Therefore, to ask UCU, or find ourselves, a comparator of a college with a high proportion of casualised workers and one with a relatively lower percentage to compare the rates of retention and success.
- Branches and regions to find strong test cases on anti-casualisation and put pressure on the union to take them as test cases.
- To promote ‘best practice’ of anti-casusalisation campaigns through developing and sharing the UCU Left HPL Toolkit and to share ideas at regions and branches.
- For a ‘Casualisation: Stopping the Abuse’ issue of the UCU Left magazine Another Education is Possible in order to raise the profile of insecure, casual contracts.
- For branches and regions to start organising a plan of action for the UCU Day of Action against casual contracts in the Spring Term as this will be an effective recruitment tool into the union.