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BERA expresses solidarity for those engaging in industrial action as part of UCURising campaign

BERA acknowledges that many of our members are currently engaging in industrial action organised by the University and College Union (UCU). We express solidarity with those taking part in the action, we recognise both the importance of this action and the fact that it arises out of the very challenging environment faced by those working in higher education, and we understand the sacrifices being made by all involved. 

BERA will continue to be vocal about many of the issues that form part of this industrial action, particularly the need for a sustainable and fairly treated workforce. The issues around workload and precarity of many staff in particular is of huge concern and we have seen the impact on many of our members. Alongside this, we wish to see fair pay, pensions and wider terms and conditions for all those working in HE. at the time of the last set of industrial action, our then President, Dominic Wyse blogged on these larger issues. This followed an earlier Blog by Dominic looking at the increasing pressures on the HE workforce and BERA’s solidarity with those taking action. 

There is a strong personal consensus among BERA staff and our Council – as well, we are sure, within our wider membership – on the issues that are being raised as part of this industrial action. Our major initiative on the state of the discipline is looking, in part, to highlight these issues and raise their profile as it progresses. The HE Census that took place over the summer captured many of these issues and these will feature in the final report to be published early in 2023. BERA members may wish to see some of the preliminary findings from the plenary session we ran at our recent conference. 

As an independent learned society and registered charity, BERA’s activities involve engaging across higher education and wider communities, especially those involved in policy and practice. Our membership includes teachers, policymakers and members of the public as well as academics – including those who are not members of the UCU, or who are part of institutions in which the union is not currently engaging in this particular industrial action. BERA itself is not subject to the strike action currently underway, and as an independent charity we must ensure that we do not engage in secondary action. Those members who are not members of UCU or directly impacted may wish to find out more about the reasons behind this industrial action via the UCU website and can sign up as a supporter through the same route.

BERA will of course do everything in our power to support our members in appropriate ways during this period. We will be sympathetic towards those wishing to cancel attendance at any events; liaise with academics who have organised events regarding whether we need to postpone them (and indeed have already done so); and, where necessary, extend deadlines that fall within this period of strike action.