The cheap option?

August 15, 2003

The national pay framework proposal includes a breakthrough for women and ethnic minority groups that appears to have gone mostly unnoticed. This is the agreement that the single pay spine will be used to determine pay rates for all staff, including those on hourly pay. Many hourly paid academics will have the opportunity to transfer to one of the substantive academic grades following role analysis.

Such staff have long been treated unfairly by a significant number of institutions in blatant abrogation of equality and part-time worker legislation. Employers argue that part-timers don't do the same job as full-time staff, yet they must prepare lectures and operate at the cutting edge of their subject. It will be interesting to see if part-time staff are used as "cheap labour" to enhance the salaries of others by those institutions opting out of the new framework agreement.

Sandra Jeans
Branch chair and equal opportunities officer, Natfhe
University of Gloucestershire

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