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Report on anti-casualisation annual meeting March 2012


Committee member Kirsten Forkert attended this & reported back:
The meeting was very well attended, attracting twice the number of anticipated participants; both Higher and Further Education were represented.

This was followed by voting on 15 motions which encouraged branches and the national union to recruit and organise fixed-term staff, particularly associate tutors (many of who are also postgraduate students, and are unaware that they are entitled to join UCU) and to campaign for better conditions for them.

There was a presentation by a representative of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), who discussed an initiative to recruit and organise call centre staff at BT, who were mainly female and employed by agencies. She said one of the primary challenges were the attitudes of other CWU members, who saw the presence of the agency staff as a threat to their own conditions and did not perceive them to be bona fide employees; however, when the situation was framed in gender equality terms, the other members became more supportive. The campaign was very successful, resulting in 90% union density and recognition agreements with employment agencies. The CWU was also involved in lobbying the government, at both the national and European level to adopt the Agency Workers Directive, which ensures the same rights and protections for agency staff employed for 12 weeks as those recruited directly.

UCU@UEA encourages both casual staff and postgraduates to join – we will be present at some of the PGR induction sessions this academic year, and we are keen to hear from any staff/PGRs interested in doing more to publicise the issues.



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