Lecturers’ pay

The government must protect universities in this crisis or job cuts will follow | Jo Grady | Education

Colleges and universities deliver vital opportunities and drive economic growth. Yet the current coronavirus crisis is now creating huge financial uncertainty in post-16 education. As the general secretary of the University and College Union, I have today written to the government setting out a plan that will protect universities and colleges so they can play their full role in the recovery of our society and economy once the virus is defeated. Most importantly, the government must make a firm commitment…

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Hundreds of university staff to be made redundant due to coronavirus | Education

Hundreds of university staff on precarious contracts have been dismissed by their employers in a drive to cut costs due to the coronavirus pandemic. Staff on fixed-term contracts, including visiting lecturers, researchers and student support workers, at Bristol, Newcastle and Sussex universities have been made redundant or told their employment will or may end prematurely, or not be renewed. The job losses come as universities face a black hole of hundreds of millions of pounds in tuition fees from the…

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‘It can’t go on’: students join lecturers on the picket line | Education

Early on Thursday morning, striking staff and supportive students braved wind, rain and hailstones to picket at the University of Manchester, demanding an end to unequal pay, unfair workloads, rising pension costs and the casualisation of work. Outside the Samuel Alexander building, Spanish lecturers Adriana Bausells and Rubén Peinado said the precariousness of pay and contracts had become the norm for their department, increasing their workloads and stymieing prospects for promotion. Peinado, 34, is on his fourth fixed-term contract in…

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Thousands of university workers strike across UK | Education

University workers have formed picket lines on campuses across the UK on the first day of the “biggest-ever wave of strikes” over higher education pay, pensions and working conditions. The University and College Union (UCU) reported that support from staff and students remained solid, despite the fact it will be the third time university staff have gone on strike in the last three years – most recently just before Christmas. UCU branches across the country posted pictures of lively picket…

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Thousands of UK academics ‘treated as second-class citizens’ | Education

Thousands of academic staff at British universities are being treated as second-class citizens on precarious contracts, says a report highlighting the “alarming rise of mass casualised labour” in higher education. The report by the University and College Union claims institutions have created a pool of low-paid staff to teach undergraduates, conduct research and work in libraries, despite having advanced postgraduate or other academic qualifications. It calls on the Office for Students, the higher education regulator in England, to require each…

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In the 2020s universities need to step up as a central pillar of civil society | Jonathan Wolff | Education

Higher education review of the decade? Hmm. The 2010s will be remembered by me as the age of the academic league table. Global, local, research, teaching, or knowledge exchange; official, unofficial, by newspaper or blogger. Give academics a new league table performance indicator, and we’ll go a-chasing, with all the dignity of a soap opera character at the Boxing Day sales. And what is in store for the 2020s? Brexit planning suggests universities will be keener still to inch up…

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Don’t mislead applicants, regulator warns universities | Education

England’s higher education regulator is urging universities to avoid using misleading adverts and financial inducements to attract students, saying it could encourage applicants to make choices that are not in their best interests. The Office for Students said offering inducements such as last-minute bursaries to fill up undergraduate courses risked students being swayed by “a sales pitch with questionable incentives” rather than academic criteria. “There are concerns about the use of financial offers and inducements being made to prospective students…

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Staff warn of ‘intimidatory’ tactics at Liverpool University after strike | Education

The University of Liverpool has told staff who went on strike over pay and pensions this week that they must catch up on missed work or risk penalties, despite already having their pay deducted over the eight-day industrial action. In an email sent by pro vice-chancellor Gavin Brown, members of the University and College Union were told that failure to reschedule teaching missed during the strike period would represent partial performance of their contracts, which “the university does not accept”.…

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I’m striking because insecure academic contracts are ruining my mental health | Sarah Darley | Education

This week, staff in 60 universities across the UK have been on an eight-day strike over pensions, pay and employment conditions. This has included growing casualisation in universities – which, as a researcher employed on a fixed-term contract, is my life. I’m not alone. A recent University and College Union (UCU) survey reported that 70% of the 49,000 researchers in higher education are currently employed on fixed-term contracts, as are 37,000 teaching staff (the majority of whom are paid hourly).…

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Students: don’t complain about your striking lecturers – join them | Education

This week, staff in 60 universities across the UK will take part in a strike led by the University and College Union (UCU). Their choice to strike has the full support of the National Union of Students (NUS) – but not all students have come out in favour of the action. Unfortunately, I’ve heard many fellow students criticise the decision of lecturers to go on strike. Within a few hours after the industrial action was announced, a petition was launched…

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Union warns of further strikes in universities row | Education

University students in the UK are facing disruption to their studies in the last few weeks of term and into the new year after union leaders warned of a second wave of strike action if staff demands are not met. More than 40,000 university staff at 60 universities are preparing to go on strike for eight days from next Monday, followed by a period of work to rule, in protest over their pensions, pay and conditions. But with no progress…

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University staff don’t want to strike for fair pensions and pay, but we’re being forced to | Jo Grady | Education

Earlier this week, the University and College Union (UCU) announced that staff in 60 universities across the UK will abandon their offices, libraries, seminar rooms and lecture theatres for eight days of strike action beginning on 25 November. The strikes are the result of two ongoing disputes in higher education: one on pay, job security, workload and equality, and one on changes to Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pensions. Although these are separate disputes, they speak to a common theme. Over…

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Temporary work at £9 an hour. No wonder lecturers are balloting to strike | Education

When Thomas Swann completed his PhD in 2015, he spent three weeks applying for 40 different jobs in academia. He was lucky to secure a dream position at Leicester University’s department of politics and international relations, but the year-long contract meant it wouldn’t be the end of his job hunt. He is currently on his fifth short-term contract, now at Loughborough, and has no idea whether he’ll still be working in six months’ time. “It makes life frantic because as…

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