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UCU launches Recognition Now campaign at Cambridge University as it fights for the right to defend members

THE University and College Union (UCU) launched its Recognition Now campaign at Cambridge University today as it fights for the right to defend its members.

UCU slammed the institution for being the only public university not to engage with it after UCU Cambridge members rejected a deal which would have led to bosses conceding only partial recognition of the education union.

The dispute comes as hundreds of casualised Cambridge University academics demand fair pay and conditions from the cash-rich institution which has combined assets worth more than £11 billion.

Nearly 350 supervisors of students at the university’s 31 colleges have petitioned senior college representatives, after the UCU warned many lack proper contracts and are paid poverty wages.

The union’s #justice4collegesupervisors campaign, launched last month alongside the Cambridge Students’ Union, demands that college supervisors be paid properly for the full number of hours they spend on class preparation, and that they receive paid training and employment contracts.

A UCU Cambridge survey in 2018 found that 66 per cent of supervisors conduct at least two hours preparation per one hour of paid contact time, meaning many were earning far below minimum wage.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said the situation was “outrageous.”

“We are calling on the vice-chancellor to recognise all staff unions and all types of staff represented by UCU,” she said.

“For so many employees to have no union recognition is shameful for any institution, but for a university like Cambridge, it is nothing short of a disgrace.

“Being in a union now, with this pack of liars in Downing Street, is so important. No-one is going to give us industrial power.

“We have to hold [bosses’s] feet to the fire.”

The university has been contacted for comment.


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