We constantly campaign throughout the year on a range of issues at a course, college, university, local and national level.
Whether it is working with course reps in colleges to change the way your course is run, or fighting against cuts to the arts on a national level, we strive to ensure that campaigning for a more creative and fair university and society is at the heart of our organisation.
Below is some information on the current campaigns that we are running and you'll find the latest updates on our campaign activity on our blog. Whether you want to be more actively involved in our campaign actions, have creative ideas about what issues the union should be campaigning on or just want some more information about what it is that we do, please get in touch with us!
We are campaigning, on a national and local level, for fair Arts Education to be free and accessible to all, no matter what your financial situation.
For many reasons, students face hardship and a lot of people don’t apply to university at all because they can’t afford it. We believe that an arts education should be open to anybody who wishes to study regardless of wealth or background. It is the responsibility of the government and the university to implement measures which will ensure that no one is shut out from studying here at UAL.
You can watch our campaign video here or contact any of your sabbatical officers for more information. Read the latest on this campaign on our blog.
Since October 2013 the University and College Union (UCU) has been involved in a pay dispute on behalf of university lectures, tutors, library staff and support staff. This year university employers have offered our university staff a measly 1% pay increase. This below inflation pay offer means that since 2009 university staff have had a 13% real-terms pay cut. SUARTS has supported all 6 UCU strikes this year and we are asking students to support staff in upcoming industrial action. For more information on this you can read Education Officer Hannah’s blog.
We believe that staff should be paid a fair wage in recognition of the significant contribution they make to our university and the education we receive. Our lecturers already work unpaid overtime, are overworked and under pressure. We encourage all students to support their staff in the struggle for fair pay and to end the erosion of wages their wages.
This year the Students’ Union is campaigning to cut the cost of housing for UAL students. We believe the cost of UAL halls of residence is too high; it can leave struggling to pay their rent and study at the same time or forces students to live at home during their time at university as paying for accommodation is just not an option.
We are asking that UAL commits to ensuring that the rent prices in any new halls of residences, that the university acquires or builds, is set at an affordable rate. We are also asking that any annual increases to rent are made taking into account current inflation rates and the true cost of living in the capital. So far 1485 of you have signed up to our housing campaign calling on the university to act on this issue before accommodation prices become irreparably unaffordable.
All workers deserve to be paid a wage and given fair terms and conditions of employment. That is why we are campaigning for all staff at UAL to be paid the living wage. The living wage is an hourly rate set annually and calculated in line with the true cost of basic living in the UK. Anything below the living wage does not afford a basic standard of living and as such forces people to live in poverty. In London the living wage is currently £8.80 an hour and is reflective of how expensive it is to live in the capital city.
This year SUARTS became a living wage employer when we committed to paying all our staff at least the London Living Wage. We are calling on the university to pay all UAL staff the living wage: this includes all staff who are contracted from another company to provide services such as the cleaning staff. These workers should brought in-house so that they can be paid a fair wage and receive the same sick pay, holiday allowance and employment benefits that are accorded to the rest of UAL’s staff.
30% of students at UAL are involved in SUARTS sports clubs and societies. The University implemented a policy which stated that Wednesday afternoons should not have any course sessions or lessons timetabled into them so that students have a free afternoon to carry out their extracurricular activities.
But in practice this policy is not followed and there is still a lot of contact time timetabled for Wednesday afternoons. Feedback we have had indicates that this stops a lot of students from being able to get involved in sports and societies. We are asking for all of UALs colleges to proactively ensure that they are not timetabling any contact time during a Wednesday afternoon.
For more information or to join in with the campaign contact Activities & Development Officer Rosie
We think that internships and work placements offer students an amazing opportunity to learn and also gain incredible experience and networks. But we disagree with companies and organisations breaking the law and refusing to pay their interns the minimum wage.
SUARTS has campaigned for over two years to bring an end to exploitative unpaid internships: we have lobbied UAL to stop advertising unpaid positions on their creative careers website, held protests outside companies in the creative sector who advertise unpaid positions (such as PR companies and fashion houses), went to London Fashion Week and campaigned against the exploitation of students in the fashion industry and we have publicly called on companies to stop using unpaid student labour which resulted has in them changing their policies. We will continue to campaign over the coming year to bring an end to exploitative employment practices.
We believe that the current international student sign in system at UAL is unfair. We understand that UAL is legally obliged by the government to keep a record of the attendance history of international students; however the currently policy, of forcing international students to sign into college on a weekly basis, goes above and beyond the UKBA requirements and is unfair and discriminatory towards UALs international students.
If the University needs to record students attendance then we are asking for them to develop a fairer and less intrusive method of doing so, such as through in-class attendance or course work submissions.