Precarity and casualisation are commonplace across many sectors of work. Universities and colleges are no exception as the neoliberalisation of higher education has dramatically changed the nature of work undertaken within the sector.
The neoliberalisation of higher education has dramatically changed the nature of work undertaken within the sector. Even the public university has done particularly well in its race to the bottom with regard to wages, hours of employment, benefits, and job security. Permanent jobs increasingly disappear in favour of low-paid, temporary employment. Such work comes without security, proper remuneration or benefits, and renders invisible the precarious workers whose labour the university relies on to function.
The casualisation of labour is also eroding academic freedom and consequently serves as one of the biggest threats to higher education as specified purpose and zero-hour contracts restrict the ability of precarious workers to develop the needed research portfolios they are told are key to securing the increasing elusive permanent positions. This makes for a workplace that is even more hierarchical, exclusionary, gendered, and racialised as fewer women and people of colour get into permanent ranks, trapped instead on the hamster wheel of temporary work. This precarity is a feature of neoliberalism – systemic, enduring and exacerbated by austerity budgets, but not created by them.
Third Level Workplace Watch (3lww) is a collective of precarious workers organising to defend our rights to fair wages and working conditions. We wish to make explicit the university workplace as site of struggle. Unfair working conditions often remain hidden in any critical calls to highlight how the higher education is under threat. We feel any discussions on the third-level sector must first and foremost address the casualisation of labour and exploitative workplace practices that allow universities and colleges to function.
We have visited a number of campuses to speak with precarious academic workers with a view to self- organisation. We have also held actions, such as the Discount University picket in Trinity College, to highlight the issue of worsening working conditions for contingent workers in higher education.
For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Find us on Twitter: @3rdlww or Facebook: Third Level Workplace Watch Website:https://3lww.wordpress.com/