Pandemic Precariat Demands

Pandemic Precariat Demands

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Pandemic Precariat started this petition to Peter Mathieson (The Principal, The University of Edinburgh)

We ask you to support the Pandemic Precariat Campaign to put people before profit at the University of Edinburgh. We are petitioning to oppose cuts at our University, to protect precarious workers and students, and for practical, humane and democratic planning during the Covid-19 pandemic. We propose that any financial sacrifices to be made in this time of crisis must come from the top and be channelled into ensuring job security and diminishing pay inequalities. Read more about this campaign.

Our Demands - More Solidarity, Less Precarity

1. Protect Postgraduate Research Students:

  • ensure PGRs have the same access as in previous years to paid teaching work;
  • adjust workload models for tutors in accordance with Hybrid Teaching model to ensure all training and work is paid;
  • protect and extend existing PGR students’ funding for one year;
  • develop a financial grant scheme for self-funded and international students;
  • extend enrolment status as needed and extend scholarships accordingly;
  • suspend fees for self-funded students;
  • ensure annual reviews have a purely supportive (rather than disciplinary) purpose.

2. Extend contracts for all casualised employees for two years to mitigate the impacts of the Covid-19 health and economic crisis and, where necessary, apply the UK government’s job retention scheme to all eligible precarious staff, topped up by the University to cover 100% of wages.

3. Implement a 5:1 maximum pay ratio (meaning that no one in the University earns more than five times the salary of its of its lowest-paid full-time employee, currently £17,046) as part of ensuring that any burden of post-crisis adjustment falls on those most able to afford it. Increase the minimum hourly wage to £10 as per the unions’ national pay claim in 2019.

4. Negotiate a reduction in normal full-time working hours with the campus trade unions, such as a 4-day work week of 29 hours without salary reductions. Review workload models of academic and professional services staff and eliminate unpaid overtime. Offer all senior non-/minimal teaching staff early retirement.

5. Increase annual leave entitlement for staff on UoE Grades 1-5 to 36 days per year, i.e. bring it in line with annual leave entitlement of staff on UoE Grades 6-10.

6. Include student representatives and campus trade union representatives as a matter of priority on the ‘Adaptation and Renewal’ Team and situate this body within the University’s existing governance structures. Take all major decisions in response to the present crisis - including on furlough, voluntary severance schemes and protocols for remote working - transparently and in full and open consultation with Court, Senate, the campus Trade Unions and the Students' Association, and that all such decisions stand up to robust scrutiny from an equalities perspective.

7. Devolve teaching, research and pastoral-support decisions to Schools. Enable and empower staff and students to democratically choose their teaching and learning priorities.

8. Withdraw from and lobby for the cancellation of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 exercise.

9. End attendance monitoring of international staff and students in accordance with the recent relaxation of Home Office compliance requirements during Covid-19; following this period, implement the most minimalist possible interpretation of the revised Home Office compliance guidelines. Commit to supporting international staff and students’ ongoing applications and extensions to study and work visas.

10. Maintain and increase provision of counselling and mental health support services within the University for staff and students (both remote and on-campus), providing training where needed for staff to provide counselling online and/or over telephone.

11. Negotiate a retention policy with campus trade unions for materials created for online and hybrid teaching.

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