Name and shame: Warwick University to outsource academics to a subsidiary

warwick-universityWhile revolts against the neoliberalization and commercialization of higher education have been sweeping Dutch universities and London universities, the University of Warwick (whose motto is “Mind moves matter”) is giving in to the dangerous logic of “profit above all”. The university management will be changing the way it employs hourly paid academic staff by using a subsidiary company. This ‘flexible workforce’ scheme is being piloted in the departments of Philosophy, Sociology, Politics and International Studies, Modern Foreign Languages, Chemistry and Mathematics. Protocols of University committees reveal that TeachHigher, which has been set up by Warwick University-owned ‘Warwick Employment Group’ wich is a part of Campus and Commercial Services Group, will in the future become the “sole method of recruiting temporary academic staff”. TeachHigher claims that it wants to make the employment of casualised academic staff more “standardised and efficient“. “TeachHigher is a completely new way for departments to recruit and manage the people they recruit on a sessional basis,” said Alison Elton, TeachHigher Director.
1As a pure example of neoliberalization of higher education, ‘TeachHigher’ represents a significant threat not only to working conditions of casualised academic staff, but also to the possibilities for organisation and resistance. The outsourcing of hourly paid academic staff will very clearly institutionalise what is already beginning to look like a two tier system within academia – separating out low paid casualised staff (who increasingly do the bulk of departmental teaching) from permanent faculty. Because staff employed by Teach Higher will no longer be employed directly by the University, this means they will lose union recognition, will not be covered by national pay bargaining etc.
2This is not the first time that a similar enterprise has been tested in the UK. Last year, attempts at setting up a similar service at the University of Birmingham were abandoned after union resistance.
Market fundamentalism, as a political project, is wedded to the privatization of public services in general, and of higher education particularly. Attenuated, enfeebled and precarious lecturers who are dependent on the mercy of the contractor seeking “efficiency”, as a part of corporatized university, are a wet dream of neoliberals and an urgent wake-up call for every advocate of academic freedom, liberty of thought and democracy.
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See more details about this story here and here.
See more entries on this crucial topic of neoliberalization and commercialization of universities and academic research here.

occupy university neoliberalism

October 20, 2009, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna was occupied by students demanding education as space for thinking, not training.

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3 Responses to Name and shame: Warwick University to outsource academics to a subsidiary

  1. Absolutely shameful. What was it that Marx said about capitalism removing the ‘halo’ of previously prestigious forms of employment? Welcome to the academic precariat.

  2. Pingback: How to defeat Neoliberalism? Name and shame its carriers. Together we did it– and we succeeded! | Economic Sociology and Political Economy

  3. Pingback: How to defeat Neoliberalism? Name and shame its carriers. Together we did it– and we succeeded! | Blog de la AMHE

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