Earlier this week a group of FACE activists met up in Birmingham, as a follow up from the July meeting in London. Here’s a quick summary of what was discussed:
What we talked about
On 25th August, delegates from Birmingham, Sussex, Manchester, Warwick, Leicester and several London universities met at the University of Birmingham for the latest FACE meeting. Also in attendance were several undergraduate student activists, keen to demonstrate their support for staff fighting against casualisation. The meeting began with a run-down on what has been achieved since our last meeting, as well as a discussion of local issues. In particular we are keen to collect as much information about the operation of various privately out-sourced teaching companies throughout the country. Finally we discussed our plans for an autumn conference in November, so watch this space.
What we decided
Delegates were keen to build on the momentum of the National Assembly at Warwick, while recognising that this was just one symbolic win in an increasing trend of marketisation. As such, there was much discussion around the idea of creating a set of national demands to unify our various local campaigns in such a way that reflects the larger structural issue facing us. It was resolved that we will release a provisional set of demands and issue a call-out for ideas in the run-up to the conference, where we will finalise this through a democratic process. If you have any particular suggestions details of the various ways you can submit them to us will follow soon.
As decided in July, meetings from now on will be regular (monthly for the moment) and will rotate between different parts of the country. So we’ll be in Manchester next, for 26th September. October’s meeting will be in London, and then it will be time for the national conference. If you have any questions about the meetings, then get in touch.
Following the success in opposing Teach Higher, we decided that it was essential for FACE to gather information on the ‘bigger-picture’ when it comes to out-sourcing. There will be a more specific call-out for information soon.
It was agreed that the group would like to express its solidarity with several on-going disputes, including the long-running strike action against privatisation being taken by workers at the National Gallery, as well as the cross-union dispute currently developing in Manchester. We are also keeping an eye on the dramatic developments at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune, Maharashtra.
Work on the Wiki campaign toolbox is well underway, with materials designed to help you discover what casualisation looks like at your university and tips on how to get organising casualised workers. We aim to finalise this in a working group after the meeting in Manchester. If you have anything you would like to contribute, then again, do let us know! We’ve got a lot of exciting stuff in the pipeline for the blog, so look out for that and share it with your friends!
See you at our next Open Organising meeting in MANCHESTER on the 26th of September!
Also, for more information about the current landscape in terms of casualisation and out-sourcing, see this article in the THE, featuring FACE!