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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 December 2008

Unite against university attacks

In response to continual attacks by Sussex University management, this time aimed at associate tutors (ATs), a rally was held against plans to "casualise" the workforce.

Lee Vernon and Sarah Wrack

Over 100 staff and students gathered in the centre of campus, supported fully by the students union and UCU. ATs are facing real cuts to their pay whilst their workloads are increased. ATs are PhD students, retired lecturers and academics. They are vital to undergraduates' learning, being responsible for a large majority of seminars and support for students. Their workload includes reading and preparing for seminars as well as guiding seminar discussions and marking essays. The university puts them at a grade 5 pay level, which is not even a teaching level grade.

ATs speaking at the rally stressed that because they care about their students and about the university, they have been doing extra work without pay. However, for many, this is simply no longer financially viable. The pay cut has been coupled with the introduction of 'zero-hour' contracts, with no promise of work or pay, giving staff no job security. It was recognised at the rally that this is all part of a wider attack on education, evident in colleges and universities across the country.

Sasha Callaghan, UCU national president summed up the anger at this when she said: "Universities are not businesses, students are not customers".

Only weeks after Unite were on strike, management are trying to cut costs by attacking the most poorly paid and organised members of staff. ATs need to link up and fight with Unite and push for Unison to join the struggle.

The government has been starving higher education institutions for years and it has become more and more necessary to rely on international students' fees and income from the private sector.

With the UCU pay review and discussion on the future of higher education funding coming up next year, government and management will be relying on tactics of divide and conquer which we must counter by linking up struggles on our campuses and within our unions.

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In The Socialist 10 December 2008:

Stop job cuts


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Save our NHS


International socialist news and analysis

Greece in widespread revolt

Queen's rep suspends Canada's parliament

Chicago workers occupy factory


Socialist Party editorial

Welfare 'reform' - fight these attacks

Crisis loans


Socialist Party campaigns

Usdaw presidential election - support Robbie!

DNA evidence - Labour's draconian laws...

Jean Charles de Menezes Coroner restricts inquest verdict

Lewisham's Greens and the BNP 'supporters list'


Education fightback

Student struggle in Spain - time of revolt

60,000 march against education cuts in Dublin

Wales - the true extent of student debt exposed


Workplace news and analysis

PCS gains steps towards settlement

Militant response needed at ex-Visteon plant to save jobs

South Wales job losses

The National Shop Stewards Network is organising a meeting for car workers and those in ancillary industries:

Unite against university attacks

Hospital trust offers pay cuts for Christmas

In brief


Environment and socialism

Water - essential of life or blue gold?


Socialist Party review

Socialism and left unity - a critique of the Socialist Workers Party


 

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