Information in English
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The “Network for Decent Labour in Academia”

Basic information about us in English

Who we are

The “Network for Decent Labour in Academia” is an open, transregional association of initiatives and individuals from mid-level academia across Germany. Being primarily the voice of mid-level scholars and employees and an advocacy of their interests, we nevertheless stand for decent working conditions in academia for all status groups. We fight for a comprehensive democratisation of universities and research institutions.

„For reasons only too well known to us, there is a lot of unrest at the mid-level in Germany's universities and research institutions. However, comprehensive organisation and networking of mid-level initiatives is still weak. Many local initiatives are working in isolation, lacking a structure that would interlink mid-level groups, faculty campaigns and voices in acute local conflicts so as to enable collective, transregional agency and impact on national politics. With this call, we want to begin the process of our networking. We hope to achieve at the very least a shared public agency (and public relations activities) as well as systematically increased options of coordinated campaigning, if not the ability to strike. At the same time, we expect cooperation with supportive faculty and students to considerably profit from a concerted mid-level academia that both gathers and multiplies its many voices.“

We being PhD candidates, post-docs, lecturers, project assistants, student employees and professors at German universities, are no longer willing to silently accept this situation. In 2015, we have therefore created the cross-faculty and nationwide ‚Network for Decent Labour on Academia‘ (NGAWiss). You can read our founding appeal here.

 

Two years after NGAWiss was founded we have already achieved quite a lot: we are currently facilitating and coordinating the network of a growing number of mid-level initiatives at universities, research institutions, academies and universities of applied sciences. We are initiating campaigns and reaching an increasingly large public. And the big Higher Education strike … will become ever more likely the more of you get involved! Please get in touch: mail@mittelbau.org.

 

 

Our demands

Our main demands in short:

 

  1. Abolition of the Temporary Employment in Higher Education-Act
  2. Appropriate scale-based wages and minimum contract terms, sibject to social insurance contributions for PhD students, along with permanent employment for post-docs as standard
  3. Abolition of the Habilitation system
  4. Appropriate salaries for teaching assignments not just for contracted employees but also for freelance lecturers and Privatdozent:innen.
  5. The rollback of structures of inequalities and mandatory measures against multiple discriminations
  6. Abolition of chaired professorships in favour of the democratisation of institutions by departmental structures
  7. The rollback of the ‚third party funding‘-system; expansion of the core funding of universities in realistic adjustment to student numbers

 

For a more detailed elaboration of our demands click here.

 

For a discussion of the specific problems of casualisation in German academia as well as their implications for organising resistance, see the articles by our activists Britta Ohm (“Excellent Dequalification. The New Academic Precariat”) and Peter Ullrich (In Itself, But Not Yet For Itself – Organising the New Academic Precariat).

 

 

Our Activities in detail

  • The predominantly Berlin-based coordinating committee – open to all – is currently facilitating and coordinating a growing number of mid-level initiatives at universities, research institutions, academies and universities of applied sciences.
  • We hold yearly meetings for members from these local initiatives to discuss developments, contentious issues and ways ahead.
  • We engage with everyday politics of higher education, i.e. we interact with and challenge speakers, experts and representatives of various parties and ministries (regional and national); we collect data on the scope of the precariat and the conditions of academic and non-academic work in research and higher education; we evaluate regulations and legislations (e.g. the central and highly controversial Temporary Employment in Higher Education-Act) and continuously monitor statements, announcements and party programs for their translations into practice.
  • We support protests and negotiations at the regional/local level and initiate campaigns, such as the ‚occupation‘ of the conference of university presidents in Potsdam in 2017 and the ongoing large Frist-ist-Frust-(‚Temporary is Terrible‘)-campaign that NGAWiss organises together with the labour unions ver.di and GEW.
  • In these critical times, we support and try and interact with as many agents, groups and movements as possible that pursue a responsible and critical politics of justice and equality, such as #unteilbar, Academics for Peace and others.
  • We continuously issue publications, both as individual members (texts, articles) and as an organisation (press releases, statements, reports); we interact with various media, deal with requests for interviews and coverage; we speak on panels, at meetings, demonstrations, workshops and conferences or on invitation, thereby (slowly) reaching an increasingly large public and challenging the still persistent shiny image of German academia both in the country and abroad.
  • Recently, we formulated demands according to the Amendment or Abolition of the WissZeitVG. For the full text click here.

 

 

We need you! How to participate

 

NETWORK

The network connects active groups and initiatives that engage in academic politics. There are member initiatives all over Germany (interactive map) that you can join. Not yet a local initiative? Then it’s time to start one – we are happy to support you with the network’s experience!

 

COORDINATION

The Coordination Circle (Ko-Kreis for short) tries to keep everything together. Meeting place: Fridays in odd-numbered calendar weeks at 6 pm at the TU Berlin, Hardenbergstraße 16-18, seminar room of the CMS on the 1st floor. We are always happy to have reinforcements! You can also join us without being part of a local initiative.

The current meetings will take place in hybrid format, so if you are interested, please let us know by email and we will send you a Zoom invitation link. For those not living in Berlin, participation via video conference is possible.

 

COOPERATION

If you want to be active in the network, you will have access to our working and communication platform, SLACK. There we will coordinate in working groups and on overlapping topics. If you are interested, please send us an email with a short background on your own commitment.

 

NEWSLETTER

The medium for everything that is really important is our newsletter (published approx. 1x/month). All those interested and active in our issues can and should register here.

 

WORKING ON THE GROUND

We have compiled detailed positioning, strategic approaches and organising examples of the various initiatives in individual localities, universities or professional societies in the recommended reading section.

 

BECOME AN ASSOCIATION MEMBER!

Please fill out the membership application and send it by email to verein_ngawiss@posteo.de. You can decide on the amount of the annual membership fee – as well as on the payment of the voluntary admission fee.

 

Donations (without membership) are of course also gladly accepted!

 

Bank account details:
Name: Netzwerk für Gute Arbeit in der Wissenschaft e.V.
IBAN: DE65 8306 5408 0005 2458 00
BIC: GENODEF1SLR
Bank: Deutsche Skatbank
Subject: Membership fee [FIRST NAME] [SURNAME] [DATE OF BIRTH]

 

The statutes of the Netzwerk für Gute Arbeit in der Wissenschaft e.V. are available here.

 

 

CONTACT

 

Our mail is mail@mittelbau.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mittelbau

Twitter: @NGA_WISS

Mastodon: @NGAWiss@mstdn.social

 

We are looking forward to any contact!