Unchanging times

January 27, 2006

You report both that Bristol is leading the way with 50 per cent of its research staff now on permanent contracts ("Bristol leads culture change", January 6) and that this can be done without excessive redundancies ("Law may backfire on fixed-term staff", January 13).

This change in contracts at Bristol is technically correct but functionally irrelevant. These research staff are supported by external sources of funding. When this ends someone will be made redundant. Bristol has broken the automatic link between the individual funded by the external source and the individual who is made redundant; but someone is always made redundant. So, while 50 per cent of research staff hav-ing permanent contracts makes good headlines, that is all it is.

There is no more money in the system, the funding model for these research staff is unchanged and so too is the employment situation in Bristol and, presumably, beyond.

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