Presentation on theme: "Campaigning against the abuse of fixed-term contracts."— Presentation transcript:
Campaigning against the abuse of fixed-term contracts
The picture across the UK is that the percentage of fixed-term contracts in use for academic staff is on the decline. However, the figures remain a cause for concern: T&R: 12% Research only: 85% Teaching only (T&S): 59% Fixed term facts and figures
Spotlight Liverpool Type of contract2005/6 % of staff on fixed- term contracts (HESA data) All52% Teaching and research18% Research only96% Teaching only94%
Although overall numbers are falling slightly, it is worrying to the UCU that the use of FTCs at appointment remains alarmingly high. For academic staff recruited in 2005 over 2/3 were appointed on a FTC: 32% of T&R staff 72% of teaching only staff 96% of research staff Fixed term facts and figures
The figures for Liverpool are even more depressing: 35% of T&R staff 100% of teaching only staff 99% of research staff were recruited onto FTCs in 2005. This implies that the culture of routinely using FTCs for academics in HE is not changing. Fixed term facts and figures
The legislative framework Collective action Organising and recruiting How can we change things?
Employer cannot treat a fixed-term employee any less favourably than a comparable permanent employee unless such treatment can be objectively justified. Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002
If you think you are being treated less favourably then you should write to the employer (the UCU can provide model letters) and ask for their reasons for the treatment. The employer must respond within 21 days. Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002
If groups of staff are being treated less favourably think about how you can support each other in using the legislation. It is likely that if one FTC member of staff is being treated less favourably they won’t be alone. The local branch could take up the issue collectively or you could decide a day to all send in your letters to HR or set up a support network for those willing to take a case. Collective action
The use of successive fixed-term contracts will be limited to four years, unless the continued use of a fixed-term contract is justified on objective grounds. Liverpool University have indicated that they will seek to put all FTC staff with more than 4 years’ service onto an open-ended contract. Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002
The legal rights of fixed-term and open-ended staff are the same in relation to dismissal: Dismissals must be for a ‘fair’ reason There can be no unfair selection for redundancy There must be consultation about dismissals (collective and / or individual) The employer is under a duty to seek ways of avoiding redundancies After 2 years’ service there is the right to redundancy pay Improved Security?
Improving security of employment means more than securing an open-ended contract. It means: Staff being treated as an integral part of the University community Ensuring that resources are managed in such a way to avoid redundancy situations Breaking the employment link between individual research projects and individual researchers Having systems in place to redeploy staff as and when necessary Improved Security?
A negotiated policy should : Set out commitments to reducing the use of FTCs Commit to no less favourable treatment of FTC staff Identify the limited circumstances in which it is acceptable to use a FTC on appointment or renewal Collective action - Negotiating for increased security of employment
It should also : Set out how the University can improve security of employment for all staff including the provision of a University wide redeployment scheme. Collective action - Negotiating for increased security of employment
The UCU is also campaigning against the widespread use of hourly paid contracts. These tend to : Be poorly paid Be poorly managed Offer few career opportunities Be for a fixed-term – usually not longer than a year Hourly Paid Staff
UCU are seeking to: Ensure hourly paid staff are assimilated to the new pay and grading structures in a fair way Ensure equal and fair treatment for hourly paid staff Convert hourly-paid to pro-rata contracts (without loss of income or security) Recruit and organise hourly paid staff Hourly Paid Staff
Negotiating for the assimilation of HP staff to the new pay and grading structures Using the legislation collectively Collective action
Make sure everyone is aware of the issues Make sure everyone is aware of their rights Make sure the employer knows this is an issue for the whole union Collective action – campaigning
It is important to use a local campaign on fixed-term and hourly paid issues to recruit members to the union and to get FT and HP members involved in the union. Organising and recruiting
Join the UCU! Recruit new fixed-term / HP members to the UCU Improve awareness amongst fixed-term and hourly-paid colleagues of their rights and encourage them to use them Make sure colleagues know that UCU is campaigning on these issues Get involved with your LA Join the UCU Developing Activists Network (DAN) Help your LA with their campaign– you can do as much or as little as you are able What can I do?