We are living through uncertain times. Over the past few months, many of us have been working flat out to deal with the challenges of lockdown; many of us are anxious about our working arrangements, career prospects, and the potential for further isolation from each other. At the same time, university staff across the country are being threatened with dark times ahead, with our working conditions – even our jobs – on the line. The global pandemic has also meant that, as a union, we’ve been unable to come together in the ways we usually would, from meetings to rallies to working groups. But it’s clear that, now more than ever, we need to come together and start organising.
That’s why we’re launching our latest project, CUCU Conversations, a way of reconnecting with each other and reimagining our shared future. Over the summer, as a union, we’ll be having conversations with as many members as possible. We want to talk collectively about how we can best respond to this crisis, and how our priorities as a union should adapt. We’ll also be reaching out to non-members, to find out what problems they’re having, and see if they’d like to join us. By recruiting new members and engaging the members we have, we can come out of lockdown bigger and stronger and better placed to tackle the challenges ahead.
These conversations are about finding out what’s going on across the University, what’s good and what’s bad in our working lives. They’re about building a sense of our collective strength, so we’re ready to fight for our working conditions against whatever lies ahead in the coming months and years. But they’re also about making sure all of us can play an active part in reshaping and reimagining the future of higher education. So what does that look like in your department? What are your priorities, what needs to be protected, and what needs to change?
To get this going, we need all hands on deck. Everyone is welcome to get involved in starting these conversations, and we’ll be getting in touch with as many of you as possible in the coming weeks. If you’d like to join in straight away, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or come along to the next meeting of our Organising Sub-Committee. We have a handy script prepared, and plenty of support, and we’ll be using the outcomes of these conversations to reshape our union too. This pandemic has made organising all the more difficult, but all the more necessary. CUCU Conversations is a chance to talk with each other, to reshape our union, and to start planning the future we want to build.