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New UCU rep for hourly paid and early careers staff

Young members, early career academics and researchers at the University of Bath now have a dedicated UCU branch rep. Harry Pitts, a PhD student and graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences, took on the the new role in December.

Drop-in session for hourly paid staff, postgrads and early careers staff

If you want advice, help or support with any aspect of your work at the University of Bath, call in at our drop-in session.

No need to make an appointment.

Wednesday 22nd April

2.30-4.00 pm

1E2.1 (ex-ICIA box office

This is a response to increasing casualization and exploitation among this section of the HE workforce. Many young and early career academics and researchers face precarious and insecure conditions. TAs and demonstrators are allocated insufficient paid prep time. Early career researchers are paid at one grade while performing work more suited to another. As a group, young members and early careers workers have a fragmented and contingent status. This makes it difficult to organise young members for bargaining purposes, but the election of Harry as a rep for this group is already making a difference.

£50,000 backpay secured for hourly paid staff

Last September, one of our postgrad members noticed that the university has been underpaying holiday pay for hourly-paid workers since 2009. The university was paying hourly-paid employees at a rate of 1.4% below what is legally permitted. UCU took the matter up with HR and they accepted that staff have been underpaid. Anyone who has worked in ANY hourly-paid role since 2009, including GTAs, demonstrators and invigilators are among those owed money. It also applies to anyone working in the bars, cafes, shops and other campus outlets.

So far the university has had to pay out over £50,000 in backpay, but will not provide full details of the process by which they will decide who to pay and how much. Even worse, people who have received backpay have had no explanation at all from HR. Although some people seem to have received the outstanding holiday pay in full, others have not. In response to this lack of clarity, Bath UCU mobilised hourly-paid workers to submit subject access requests under the Data Protection Act. These demanded full disclosure of the amount underpaid in the period 2009-2014. The UCU action has extracted real gains, but until everyone gets back what they are owed, the campaign continues.

What more should Bath UCU be doing to fight for young members and early careers? Send any thoughts, issues or concerns to Harry Pitts, Young Members and Early Careers Rep, at f.h.pitts@bath.ac.uk.

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