Elizabeth Cotton

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    A matter of principles: the psychodynamics of solidarity in trade unions

A matter of principles: the psychodynamics of solidarity in trade unions

People walking on gray pavement, by Unsplash, under a CC0 licence
Despite women working in higher education still being paid 12 per cent less than men and half of all teaching staff on precarious contracts, last month 57 per cent of my union’s members voted against taking industrial action over decent pay in education. You don’t need to be an […]

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    Poor working conditions affect mental health workers’ state of mind

Poor working conditions affect mental health workers’ state of mind

Tunnel, by tresdetres, under a CC0 licence
Today celebrates World Mental Health day – another barometer of public attitudes towards mental health. Even over the last twelve months we have seen a rise in the public appetite to engage with and understand the growing mental health crisis. For those of us who work in mental health the changing climate is […]

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    The side effect of treating higher education as a commodity: less free expression

The side effect of treating higher education as a commodity: less free expression

Thoughts, by Sgt. Pepper57, under a CC-BY-2.0 licence
Last week a student I teach at a UK university wrote to my employers to propose that I should be sacked. My pedagogical crime was to change a slide on my power point presentation the day before the lecture. The student also raised his concerns that I move around the room during the […]

Self-employment is precarious work

Coming from a trade union and mental health background, I’m familiar with the drill of being wheeled out to deliver bad news. Last week I was invited to join a discussion about the sharing economy for the BBC’s Talking Business. Is the ‘new’ sharing economy of Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit – the love children of social enterprise and digital […]

How can you maintain your sanity in a toxic workplace?

There is no question that workplaces have taken a perverse turn, and I mean that in its brutal Freudian sense. We live in a society where receiving chemotherapy means you are fit for work and ‘toxic leadership’ has become a mainstream topic on business school curricula. A lot of working life is just unfair.

As precarious work grows, most of […]