Life in a parallel world

October 29, 2004

If Declan Leyden of the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association (Letters, October 22) thinks many institutions are planning for a "dramatic reduction" in the number of fixed-term academic contracts, he must spend part of his time in a parallel universe to the rest of us.

We, in lecturers' union Natfhe, have come across no such evidence.

In so far as planning is taking place, it is in attempts to introduce ever more ingenious ways of sidestepping the law, such as zero-hours annualised contracts for hourly paid lecturers that seek to remove the few employment rights such staff have.

Natfhe would be more impressed if our local representatives were telephoning us to ask for advice on employer proposals to end the scandal of casualised teaching and research.

They are not, because there is no rush to reduce this type of contract.

Andrew Pike
National official for higher education

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