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Coping with casualisation

SUCU Lunchtime workshop: How do researchers and other casualised academics suffer from insecure contracts, and how do we cope with it?

Wed May 7, 1-2pm
TV Lounge, Octagon Centre, Western Bank S10 2TQ.

May 7 is National UCU Anti-casualisation Day and to mark it we are inviting all Sheffield researchers and other casualised academics to bring their lunch and their friends to discuss how casualisation has affected them and how they handle it.

Most of us got into academia on unrealistic expectations of career progression and teaching jobs, but the reality now is that most (5/6) of us will work on a series of casualised contracts well into our 40s, and often our 50s and beyond. Despite this, research is now big, well-funded business (200M/year at Sheffield) and has become a lifetime career for many of us.

How does casualisation affect your family life and productivity? Are you planning to stay “mobile”, and delay or avoid having children? Does this risk destroying your marriage or relationships with your kids, and are you concerned about the increased risks of health problems that are sometimes associated with delayed parenthood? Will your partner follow you around? Does regular redundancy make it harder to concentrate at work? How do we manage to collaborate with our colleagues when we know that we will be competing with them to get on the next grant? Or do you relish the idea of constant change and new places in your career, and want to share your tips on how to thrive as a casualised academic?

Please come along to discuss all this and more. Non-members welcome.

Marking boycott starts after Easter on 28 April

This is our strongest sanction and we call on all members to support this action and publicize it as widely as possible.

  • Please circulate this briefing to your students.
  • Display this poster.
  • Circulate the marking boycott slides – contains detailed information about what the marking boycott will involve.
  • Add a signature line to your emails, eg: “From 28 April I will be supporting the UCU marking boycott. This is part of the campaign for fair pay in HE; for further details see: http://fairpay.web.ucu.org.uk/he-resources/#.UzLBPYVX1IG
  • Come to the special Branch Meeting arranged for Thursday 1st May, 1pm (LT6 Hicks Building) and a further Branch Meeting on 14th May 1pm (Council Chamber,Octagon Centre).

Other resources

The University’s number 2 earner: pay rise between 8% and 17%

Exactly how greedy is the University’s number two earner?

The University’s 2012/13 financial statement seem to show that the pay of the top earner below the VC went from the £230k-£240k pay zone to the £260k-£270k zone.

So is Number 2 scraping along with an 8% rise (if it went up a mere £20,000 from £240k to £260k) or did they get a splendid 17% rise (if it went up £40,000 from £230k to £270k)? Or maybe a middling 12%?

We’ll probably never know, as unlike the pay of grade 1-9 staff it is a secret. But we do know it is a vastly bigger percentage than the 1% being tossed at the staff, who you might think have rather more need of it.

Breaking news – VC “tax scam”?

SUCU believes we have found out why the VC is having the employers pension contribution of £34,000 paid to him instead as salary. It seems to be a tax avoidance scam which many highly paid people are doing, as excessive pension amounts are now more heavily taxed. So as well as getting an outrageous pay rise, to £374,000, it appears he may also be avoiding paying his full taxes for the health, education and other services which make for a decent society. The scam is legal of course – look who writes the laws – but is it moral, particularly for someone leading a University?

See also article in Sheffield Telegraph – a letter from an alumni donor about the VC’s pay rise.