Unit causes concern over conditions for hourly paid staff

Critics of the University of Warwick’s TeachHigher division also wary of UK-wide franchise

四月 16, 2015

A new department overseeing hourly paid academic staff at the University of Warwick has caused concern among union officials and postgraduates who teach, as well as raising questions over whether it could be rolled out to other institutions.

The academic services department at Warwick, called TeachHigher, aims to establish a more consistent approach to the employment of hourly paid research and teaching staff who work in different departments across the institution.

The University and College Union said that it was “very concerned” by the step, which it argued could leave workers with less favourable employment terms and conditions.

Under a pilot programme, TeachHigher will consult initially with seven Warwick departments to get a better understanding of the hourly paid roles they use and then develop a system that will come into force in the next academic year.

A Warwick spokesman said that TeachHigher would improve existing processes for hourly paid academic staff.

The new department will offer a “fair, transparent and consistent approach to recruitment and remuneration” as well as “a structured, tailored approach to professional development”, he said. Pay rates will be derived from nationally agreed framework scales for higher education, and those employed by TeachHigher would have the same rights as current hourly paid staff, he added.

However, Anne O’Sullivan, regional official at UCU West Midlands, said: “We remain very concerned…It has not been made clear how staff will be paid, graded or whether they will have employee status.”

Warwick Employment Group, which “supports” TeachHigher, runs several national higher education recruitment businesses, including Unitemps – a temporary employment agency for catering and other service staff that began at Warwick but is now franchised to 10 other UK institutions.

The campaign group Fighting Against Casualisation in Education claimed that TeachHigher was “a national company, which intends to be rolled out across UK universities”.

A fourth-year PhD student who teaches at Warwick told Times Higher Education of concern about the potential creation of “a divide between casualised and permanent staff”. The student had previously been employed by Unitemps to teach in the Student Careers and Skills academic writing programme at Warwick when they took part in industrial action organised by the UCU. After that, the student claimed, the position was terminated. The student expressed fears that similar things could happen with those working for TeachHigher if they did not hold employment contracts directly with the university.

A spokesman for Warwick said that he was “not aware” of the student’s case.

He added that there was “nothing preventing current or future hourly paid staff joining unions or taking industrial action” and denied claims circulating on social media that TeachHigher is a separate or subsidiary company.

holly.else@tesglobal.com

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

Please Login or Register to read this article.

请先注册再进行下一步

获得一个月的无限制地在线阅读网站内容。只需注册并完成您的职业简介.

注册是免费的,而且非常简单。一旦成功注册,您可以每个月免费阅读3篇文章。:

  • 获得编辑推荐文章
  • 率先获得泰晤士高等教育世界大学排名相关的新闻
  • 获得职位推荐、筛选工作和保存工作搜索结果
  • 参与读者讨论和公布评论
Register

Reader's comments (1)

There is some information and discussion about this at Daily Nous, including remarks from the chair of the Warwick Philosophy Department, one of the departments that is piloting the program. http://dailynous.com/2015/04/07/on-warwicks-outsourcing/