Motion detail

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Motion title
The Future of PGRs as Staff and Organising in HE
Meeting date
28 May 2023
Motion text

Conference recognises the progress made to date by the PGRs as Staff campaign, including:
1. organising PGR members;
2. engaging effectively with UKRI;
3. supporting PGRs to win a 13% increase in UKRI stipends;
4. linking campaigning, bargaining and organising, providing a model for other pieces of work;
Conference notes that:
1. PGR members have secured significant wins at local and national levels;
2. some of this PGR activity has occurred outside of formal branch structures;
3. some branch committees don’t have dedicated PGR or GTA positions or these positions are vacant;
4. some branches don’t have an agreement with their employer to provide PGRs and hourly-paid workers with ‘paid time on’ facility time.
5. PGRs work in precarious conditions, change membership status frequently thus often lose access to UCU’s benefits.
Conference reaffirms i) the principle that original postgraduate research should be acknowledged as labour and ii) the campaign for PGRs to be recognised as members of staff with full employee rights.
Conference believes that:
a. PGR member campaigning should be supported;
b. PGR members and issues should be integrated within branch committees;
c. PGR members should be equally entitled to receive facility time;
Conference resolves to:
a. continue the campaign on the basis of HESC 2020 motion 11 and the PGR manifesto;
b. adopt the principle that student members should not lack access to UCU’s structures on the basis of precarious employment status
c. adapt the organising techniques developed by the PGR campaign to other casualised groups in HE, such as fixed-term research and teaching staff, updating and augmenting existing guidance for branches;
d. identify further opportunities to integrate organising with campaigning, lobbying, bargaining and negotiating involving funding bodies and/or multiple employers.
Further, conference resolves that branches should be supported in:
i. Establishing PGR and GTA committee positions and actively recruiting to fill these positions
ii. Training and mentoring PGR committee members to effectively campaign on matters relating to casual employment and postgraduate research
iii. Negotiating with their employer on the provision of ‘paid time on’ facility time, where no such mechanism already exists.

Proposing body
Composite (Higher Education Committee, University of Warwick)

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