Whilst many universities took decisive action to protect their precarious staff at the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the University of Sussex Executive Group (UEG) compiled the alarming Financial Review Guidelines (FRGs). The FRGs originally stated that temporary and fixed-term contracts should be 'terminated as soon as possible', and have continued in this highly insensitive tone. Not only did this add to the immediate distress and ongoing concerns about the future for precarious academics at the University, it drained any remaining goodwill previously held by many.
Precarious academics create significant value to the university. And yet, we are continually viewed by the UEG as an expendable convenience, with increasingly detrimental consequences both on our work and mental wellbeing. The FRGs disregard the vital role precarious academics are continuing to play during the ongoing crisis. In order for the University to guarantee the continued quality of education received by our students, and the professional development of the next generation of academics, we will remain an indispensable part of the workforce.
There is no indication that the working conditions precipitated by this pandemic will change in the near future, with some estimates indicating 12-18 months of social distancing may be required. This reflects only the pandemic itself, and does not extend to the long-term economic impacts. As such, we appeal to all permanent University staff to refuse coverage of any work usually carried out by precarious academics, and demand the following from the UEG:
If satisfactory progress is not made on our demands, we are collectively prepared to take further action.
For our full statement, cost estimates and further information, please visit our website -precariousacademics.com - and sign up for our mailing list, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.