The Spanish labor union CGT (Confederación General del Trabajo) organizes a strike of University and Research staff for the next 21st of October 2020. This is the first time that this sector is calling for industrial action at the national level, and will hopefully establish the first of many fights aiming at winning decent working conditions for all members of staff and the end of neoliberalization of education and research—we fight towards university and science for the people. We build on internationalism to strengthen our position; the recent wildcat strikes of the University of California, and the strikes all over higher education in the UK by the UCU union are important references to follow. The current health crisis, due to COVID-19, shows that the working class cannot wait in order to organize the struggle. The many climate crisis that are to come must find a strong labor movement. Let us unite. Let us fight.
Why are University and Research sectors striking?
Over the past years, employees at universities and research centers have seen how working conditions deteriorate. The current COVID crisis made the situation even worse; employers are rapidly worsening labor conditions, intensifying job insecurity including safety measures.
Our inability to act strongly during the lockdown and after has allowed the Government, along with management teams at universities and research centers, to rule against workers. For example, staff were not involved in drafting plans for returning to work, negotiations on ongoing conflicts were suspended and causal contracts not renewed. This came in a moment in which institutions need more staff, and in better working conditions, in order to guarantee health and safety—let alone high quality of education and research.
This is not a time to be patient, as we are told from above, but a time to fight against the marketization of education and research. Time to fight for our working conditions.
Serious conflicts in these sectors remain as relevant today as ever: illegal and casual contracts, not a single upgrade in job stability demands, outsourcing, absurd staff hierarchies, increasingly higher fees for students, and evaluation criteria for staff still promotes levels of competitiveness that are harmful for both staff and education/research.
We need to stop the neoliberalization of higher education and research. We demand a model for the benefit of the working class. We fight for:
- Funding 100% public and managed by staff.
- Free education. Reduce student fees by 100%.
- No staff hierarchies. Equal pay for equal work.
- End casualisation.
- Work-life balance.
- End outsourcing.
- Change evaluation criteria to promote cooperation over competition.
- Prioritize health and safety concerning COVID-19.
These are some of the most urgent demands, but there are plenty reasons for organizing the struggle. Let all members of staff unite and fight. Let’s start. Many voices; one fight.
We call all members of staff of universities and research centers for strike action on the 21st of October.