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War of Words – Progressive Media Conference Norwich Feb 20 2016

Had an excellent day at this conference.  Jotting down some notes:

@chrisjarvisdiy in opening speech “…skewered perceptions of reality become received wisdom”  – in a Trade Union context makes me think of the so-called union barons.

@natalieben talked about the importance of journalism starting at the local level.  Importance of local journalism is crucial in holding those in power to account.


Diversity of ownership for healthy press & society – uncovering corruption

Levison – NUJ had to appeal to take part.  They were the only means for anonymised, confidential voices from journalists to be heard

Drastic cuts in newspaper industry – union opposition not about wanting to preserve old ways of doing things, it’s about the value of good journalism – providing the analysis on stories, not just pumping out press releases.  Media owners used austerity as excuse to cut jobs.

Women in media

@Soph_vanderHam, @KCBobCut @_canndo

Bit depressing in the lack of progress, but the vibrant voices of the panel bear testament to the value women’s contributions can make in all areas.  Reflecting on trade unions, there are a lot of female voices.  Politics more widely – interesting point from Young green activist that men will often offer to do the outside facing roles such as being a candidate.   And observation that politics requires a lot of confidence – private schools instil that in their pupils.  Greens actively approach women to encourage them to stand – also aware of middle class domination & lack of BME women in the party.

Also noted the lack of working class women’s voices in media.


There were other sessions, it was a very rich day, in ideas and inspiration, thanks @NorwichRadical






Living wage at UEA

Congratulations to Unison & UEASU for the campaign to bring the living wage to UEA employees, which has been agreed by UEA’s executive team.

Post script – unfortunately this only lasted a few weeks – the national rate went up in November, the UEA rate didn’t


The next 5 years

Being in a trade union is about coming together collectively to fight for workers’ rights.  Those who have followed the election campaign will know that it’s likely that unions are going to lose some of the hard-won rights and it’s going to be a lot harder to campaign and support our members.

Please think about what you can do to help UCU@UEA.

Strength in numbers – recruit a friend
Be public about your membership – mugs etc available from the office
Let the committee know what’s going on
Write something for the newsletter
Interested in negotiating, supporting colleagues in cases, admin? Get in touch!

Many of us are feeling angry, depressed, useless after the election result.  A brilliant call to action comes from Laurie Penny:


This blog post is inspiring:

This group was set up after tuition fees were hiked up in the last government.  Many of you talented people could help out:

And please, look after yourselves.  Academics have one of the highest workloads of any job & it’s exhausting.  Make time for you, whether you are academic or otherwise (written by ALC member at the weekend!).

Outside work there are campaign organisations that the trade unions support which you can get involved in:

People’s Assembly

38 Degrees

Living wage at UEA – event

Living Wage Rally – Thursday 16th April 2015, 13:00, the Square

Unison at UEA will be hosting a Living Wage rally to show the Vice Chancellor and members of the executive team that there is  support on campus for the Living Wage to be introduced. This will feature music from Kyle Schewitz and Matilda Carter and speeches from Norwich South Labour candidate Clive Lewis, and UUEAS Campaigns and Democracy Officer Chris Jarvis.

Staff and students please come along to show your support!



From HSE website:

Advice for organisations
What should we be doing as an organisation to tackle bullying and harassment?

Promote a culture where bullying and harassment is not tolerated

This can include:

accept that bullying can occur in any organisation
understand what bullying and harassment are and what the consequences can be
consult and discuss with your staff
devise a policy and ensure your managers and harassment advisors are trained to implement it
promote the policy within the organisation and enforce against the policy

Be aware of the organisational factors that are associated with bullying, and take steps to address them

What is workplace bullying?

Bullying at work can take many forms. It can involve:

ignoring or excluding someone
spreading malicious rumours or gossip
humiliating someone in public
giving someone unachievable or meaningless tasks
constantly undervaluing someone’s work performance

There is no legal definition of workplace bullying. ‘Bullies’ are often – but not always – more senior than the person they are bullying. ‘Bullies’ sometimes target groups as well as individuals.

Responsibility for dealing with bullying and harassment rests with the organisation, and prevention strategies must be organisation-wide. Many organisations adopt a zero tolerance approach. Some factors associated with bullying include:
perceived imbalance of power; few consequences perceived by perpetrator
internal competition; reward systems focused solely on outputs
organisational change

As an organisation, to tackle these factors, you might, for example:

  • encourage a more collaborative, less autocratic management style in your managers
  • encourage staff to attend diversity training
  • publicise your bullying and harassment policy, and explaining the consequences of bullying within the organisation
  • encourage control and choice for staff, as far as possible
  • explore levels of competition between individuals and teams
  • consider alternative incentives to achieving high performance
  • ensure you are confident and comfortable in managing poor performance
  • consult staff regularly and keep them informed during times of change
  • ensure your managers have sufficient support to help them implement the policy