FACE 2nd National Conference – Schedule

FACE’s 2nd National Conference will be held from 10:30 to 18:00 on November 21st at the UCL Cruciform Building. The day will be divided into two sections: the first half will be dedicated to panel discussions on the broad structure of casualisation as it faces education workers, while the second will consist of in-depth workshops on specific issues, with participants helping to finalise a set of national demands for FACE. These will feed in to a final, open session in which the demands will be discussed.

If you have any dietary, access or childcare requirements PLEASE LET US KNOW BY THE END OF THE DAY, FRIDAY 13th NOVEMBER.

Confirmed participating campaigns include #FeesMustFall from South Africa, Justice4Sanaz, Tres Cosas, SOAS Fractionals for Fair Play, and the Warwick Hourly Paid Campaign on Teach Higher.

11:00–12:15: Opening panel
A panel discussion introducing FACE and considering casualisation from a variety of perspectives. Speakers to include representatives from FACE, SOAS, Warwick and a #FeesMustFall activist from South Africa.

12:15–12:30: Coffee break

12:30–13:45: Panel discussions (running simultaneously)

Local Anti-Casualisation Campaigns
Practical advice on and political analysis about how to build a local anti-casualisation campaign in your institution: what are the first steps? what models work best where? how do you relate to established union branches? And what kinds of solidarity can be built with students? We will also introduce you to and invite you to contribute to the FACE wiki, which is collating campaign resources and experiences from across the UK.

Precarious Organising
21st century academia is precarious. We all know that short term contracts and high turnover mean that few workers remain in an institution to see an entire campaign out from start to finish, while a sense of vulnerability sometimes make workers less willing to organise. All these conditions are intensified for non-EU workers dependent on work visas. This panel aims to move beyond mere acknowledgement of precarity, to focus on particular forms of workplace organising that have already, and might in the future, work best in precarious workplaces.

The Shape of Casualisation
In this panel, we will consider what at the casualised university looks like today: how it functions and what its particular effects are on women, people of colour, and non-EU citizens.

13:45–14:30: Lunch

14:30–15:45: Breakout sessions (running simultaneously)
Throughout this conference we are building towards formulating and finalising our demands. These breakout sessions have two purposes. First, they are intended to build on the morning panels, providing a space for participants to discuss ideas and concerns and share skills and strategies. Second they are spaces where participants can apply these discussions and strategies to formulating our demands. In these sessions, participants will consider the provisional list of demands from the perspective of their session and come up with concrete amendments or additions, which will be voted on in our final session.

Citizenship, Borders and Surveillance
Casualisation has a disproportionate affect on non-EU workers whose residence in the UK is often dependent on their employment with the university. This means non-EU workers are particularly vulnerable as they can be threatened not just with unemployment, but deportation and recent changes to visa requirement exacerbate this effect. At the same time as non-EU workers are becoming increasingly vulnerable, universities are also increasing their surveillance of non-EU workers and students as the University and begun to work increasingly closer with the UK Border Agency. These issues affect us all. As teachers, we are now being asked to monitor all of our students, and are ourselves being increasingly monitored, while the university’s often inhuman treatment of non-EU workers offers a worrying precedent. This breakout session will provide a space to discuss the relationship between casualisation, and increased surveillance, monitoring, and border controls. We will also discuss how we can organize within and around this culture of surveillance, monitoring, and precarity.

Insourcing and Outsourcing
For many universities, insourcing and outsourcing are their go-to tools for creating a more flexible, casual, and low-paid workforce. One of the great victories of the past year, was at the University of Warwick where local and national organizing forced the University to halt its attempt to insource workers and force the university to bargain with them as direct employees. One of the most important battles on the casualisation front is to make sure that everyone who is working for the university is recognised as a University employee. This breakout session will provide an opportunity to discuss how insourcing and outsourcing works at our campuses and how we can strategize against it.

National Pay Frameworks and Terms & Conditions
Where permanent staff have national frameworks, casual workers are ostensibly tied to those frameworks, but do not have frameworks of their own. Moreover, the implementation of those frameworks is partial at best: pay rates and conditions – whether teachers are paid for prep time, attending lectures, grading, or office hours – vary wildly between institutions and even departments within an institution. This panel will discuss how to both build our own campaign and work with existing organisations like the UCU  to achieve a national pay framework and a national agreement on terms and conditions for casual workers

Doctoral Researchers – Students or Workers?
Unlike in many other countries, doctoral researchers in the UK are treated not as employees but as students. We lack guaranteed employment rights over pay, hours and working conditions, and cannot obtain recognition for trade unions to defend ourselves or negotiate collectively. Many of us don’t receive a stipend and so are working unpaid, or even paying fees for the privilege of producing research for our institutions. The first step of the academic career ladder is treated as an extended internship, for which we should be grateful if we are paid anything. Is the solution to this to demand status as employees? What do we stand to lose from such a change – are there benefits to student status? How do we fight for all doctoral researchers to be paid while ensuring that the number of places isn’t cut? This breakout session will consider these questions and ask what FACE’s demands and goals should be in this area, and how we could win them.

15:45–16:00: Coffee break

16:00–18:00: Final session (report-backs and ratification of amendments and demands)

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