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teaching only contracts

Branch meeting 7th October 1.15 pm 6E2.1

This is an important branch meeting that will give members a chance to discuss the proposed changes (cuts) to the USS pension scheme.

There are two further important items on the agenda for the meeting:

  • underpayment of holiday pay to part-time hourly paid staff
  • grading of teaching only contracts.

For full details see the meeting agenda

UCU challenges use of zero hours contracts

ist for zero hoursUCU has a clear policy against the use of zero hours contracts. There are many names for these contracts but they typically involve an individual undertaking to be available for work but the employer not guaranteeing to provide any work and only paying for the hours worked. Now UCU has agreed to use Freedom of Information requests to get a clear picture of how widespread the use of zero hours contracts has become.

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UCU in POLIS

Bath UCU officers held the first of a series of departmental meetings for members on May 16th.  The meeting was in POLIS, which has generated a significant amount of casework from members with individual grievances.  The meeting helped to provide a context for this, and allowed us to think about the individual cases as a collective issue on which we can negotiate with senior management.   Other members might like to compare their own experiences with those of our members in POLIS – please post a reply here.  Future department meetings will be in School of Management and Registry.

Teaching only contracts – UCU calls for joint review in Bath

During the last year your UCU reps in Bath have raised a number of concerns about staff employed on a range of teaching-only contracts.  These include staff with the job titles of teaching fellow, variable hours teaching fellow, part-time teaching fellow, fractional teaching fellow, casual teaching assistant, GTA.  We have carried out two surveys of staff on teaching only contracts, and these have produced large responses and highlighted a number of common concerns.    We have submitted a summary statement of these concerns to university managers through the formal machinery of negotiation, and we have requested a joint review of the use of teaching only contracts in the university.  We await the Vice Chancellor’s response.

Casual teaching assistants – let’s talk

Over 100 casual staff, mainly teaching assistants, responded to our survey and we have taken the responses into a series of meetings with HR.  Casuals and variable hours staff are excluded from the staff survey, so their voices are not heard by university managers.

UCU has an agreement with the university from 2009 that guarantees fractional contracts to any casual teaching assistant who has worked at least 322 hours (0.2) for more than two years.  Future talks will focus on the implmentation of the agreement and on improving the terms and conditions of the hundreds of TAs not covered by the agreement.  Please sign the UCU petition now if you’ve not yet done that.

Casualisation petition launched

anticasLast week’s day of action against casualisation drew support mainly from the growing number of casual workers on campus. While it is encouraging that casual workers are joining UCU, the campaign needs more support from members who see their positions as ‘secure’. Casualisation threatens the security of all employees, so all should join the action.

We have launched a charter for the treatment of casualised staff, which is attached to this message. Over 100 staff have already signed the petition in support of the charter, and you can help by

– downloading the petition and asking others in your Department to sign

– signing the petition here and passing the link on to others

The petition will be presented at the next meeting in May of the Joint Academic Consultation and Negotiation Committee, and the charter will form the basis of our negotiations with HR.

Casual hourly paid staff

Dear colleague

We the undersigned members of staff at Bath University support the Charter for the treatment of casualised staff
We are seeking a commitment from our employer on the following:
1. A fair rate of pay for all hours worked by hourly-paid staff including sufficient time for preparation, marking, administration, student support and scholarly activity.
2. Annual pay rises and incremental progression for all staff.
3. Working conditions for staff on casualised contracts that are comparable to those on permanent, full-time contracts.
4. Increased job security for staff currently on casualised contracts – transferring hourly-paid to full-time or fractional permanent contracts,
and fixed-term staff to permanent contracts.
5. Ensuring systems are in place that significantly reduce the risk of redundancies for all staff including those on hourly-paid, fixed-term contracts or whose posts are underpinned by fixed-term external funding eg redundancy avoidance committees, effective redeployment and retraining policies.
6. No zero-hours contracts to be used.
7. Ensuring staff are employed on contracts that state they are employees and not give bogus self-employment status.
8. Fair treatment and pay for postgraduates who teach.
9. Support for ongoing access to professional development opportunities.
10. For staff that leave the sector, increased support for careers outside HE eg specialist career support and training.

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55 signatures

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UCU action against casualisation Wednesday March 6th. Join us !

anticasOver 100 casual teaching staff responded to our brief survey of changes to their pay and conditions.  We highlight some of their concerns in our latest newsletter.  As a result of what the casual teaching staff told us we are supporting the UCU National Day of Action against Casualisation this Wednesday 6th March.  We will be outside the Library from 12-2 – join us there.

Teaching-only contracts

Following pressure from UCU, HR have come up come up with a set of proposals for teaching fellow jobs.   These are up for discussion at a UCU meeting on Wednesday 7th November 2.15 in 3E2.1.  Teaching fellows should try to attend this or post comments here.