Second-class honour

June 15, 2007

Your article on the hourly paid ("Hourly work but daily challenges", Working Knowledge, June 1) is timely given that in many universities the pay of the hourly paid is currently being negotiated as part of the local implementation of the national framework agreement.

I write as a former full-time academic for 25 years who now, since early retirement, works as an hourly paid lecturer. Colin Bryson's checklist is one that should inform both hourly paid lecturers and the University and College Union, which negotiates on their behalf.

In my own department, the hourly paid are reason-ably well involved on academic and pedagogic matters, communications are good, full-time staff are helpful, meetings are regular and we have full access to the university library and e-mail facilities.

But on the remuneration front, matters are less satisfactory. Progress has been in the right direction - we get holiday, sick and maternity pay.

However, outside class contact time, the time for preparation and other associated activities is either inadequately paid for or is not paid for at all.

Terryl Bacon enjoins that we must not accept second-class status. But this does not address the fact that, although the hourly paid may be treated equally by full-timers on a personal basis, we often experience unfairness when it comes to pay and other employment benefits. Objectively, our status is invariably second-class.

Michael Somerton
Hull University

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