I am sure it comes as no surprise that we are balloting once again. Your union nationally and locally is calling on you to vote in national ballots on pensions and “pay”. I, your Anti-Casualisation Officer, begin this post not with an inducement to strike but with an indictment of the state of higher education. Our working lives are blighted with increasing precarity, inequality and unreasonable workloads. Ever year the demand on our time, capacity and sanity are stretched beyond reasonable limits. Nowhere are the strains being inflicted on our sector felt more keenly than our casualised colleagues and comrades.
We know this instinctively, having worked under these conditions ourselves. Precarity is at an all-time high across the sector. Casualisation continues to be the tip of the neo-liberal spear that is exsanguinating our profession. It cuts to the very bone of our institutions. This modality of employment propagates and enforces pay inequality. It supports a structure of crushing workload and forces our institutions to run on the good-will of an increasingly exhausted workforce. It suppress our wages meaning more work for less pay. Casualisation is at the centre of our disputes over pensions and pay.
We must be clear that we will not tolerate a sector that is run like this. We must be clear that will not stand for increasing inequality in our institutions. We must be clear that we want academia to be a profession that is open to all, fair to its workers and free from exploitation. We must stand in solidarity with our precarious, casualised members. Members that came out in support of the USS dispute, many of whom cannot afford to contribute to the scheme itself. For these reasons it is vital that we, the members of staff that make UEA what it is, take a stand against rampant inequality, increasing casualisation, excessive workload and insufficient salaries. It is vital that we defend our pension scheme. It is vital that we vote yes and yes to strike action across both ballots.
Michael Kyriacou (Anti-Casualisation Officer)