Academic and professional staff at 61 universities will walk out on 22 February as part of an escalating programme of strikes over a four-week period. Strike action is not a decision taken lightly: it affects students and affects people’s livelihoods. Striking is not a luxury, it a last-option in the face of a constant erosion of workers’ rights and a sustained attack on education .
This time, employers are set to end guaranteed pension benefits by ‘gambling’ with our contributions. This means that our pensions will depend on the performance of this ‘investment’ rather than the contributions paid into the scheme. According to the University and Colleges Union (UCU), the new cut will take an average of £10,000 per year, and it will hit younger academics the hardest.
The most precarious workers of the higher education system face difficult choices: to strike and fight to protect their pensions or struggle to pay the rent. Casualised seminar-leaders and associate lecturers working under insecure zero hour contracts have little to no assurances about their future, and every-day of teaching hours is essential to their livelihoods. For that reason, each day of strike can translate into the inability to meet basic necessities: paying rent, childcare or food.
Top university managers take advantage of their precarious circumstances to break and minimize the impact from the strike action. At the same time, the pay and benefits of top university management have skyrocketed and expenditure for buildings is prioritised over students right to an education and the people teaching them every day.
This campaign is meant to support our teaching colleagues at Kent Law School in joining the UCU strike-action and helping those who will be under hardship if they do. The School of English is running a sister campaign . We agreed that running individual campaigns would be best for ensuring accountability and trust in the campaign.
Any donation will go a long way, not only in supporting the people who are in the front-lines of education but also in ensuring the welfare of our higher education system.
University of Kent Hourly Paid, Associate Lecturers and Graduate Teaching Assistants Collective
How will the funds be distributed?
We aim to distribute the funds collected in a fair way. We will distribute funds proportionally and according to need.
Who is eligible?
All UCU casualised members who have applied already for the UCU strike funds and have experienced hardship as a result of the strike. All applicants need to show is that they have applied for the hardship funds of the local and national UCU and explain in one paragraph why they are applying for these funds.
Who will decide how to distribute the money?
The decision will be made by three members involved in the inception of this fund. One or two will be a representatives of casualised staff and the other will be an independent party from another school.
What will happen if there are unused funds?
In the event that we don't use all the money collected, we will donate the money to the UCU anti-casualisation campaign. We will send out a confirmation of this donation as well as the distribution of the funds to all donors.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.