Agency staff stay at UCE despite union flak

July 10, 1998

AGENCY staff will continue to be employed as lecturers at the University of Central England, in spite of criticism from teaching unions.

The university plans to use Education Lecturing Services for at least one more year and extend it to the faculty of engineering.

UCE vice-chancellor Peter Knight said that, subject to the outcome of tenders, the university was to continue with the controversial pilot scheme.

Lecturers' union Natfhe is worried about any inroads by agencies into higher education, claiming use of ELS in further education has led to worse working conditions for staff.

A survey of 24 staff involved in the UCE scheme found more than half felt the quality of staff provided by ELS was unsatisfactory.

But Dr Knight said 80 per cent of these staff had worked for the university in the past. He said use of hourly paid staff at UCE was different from their use in FE because none worked more than three hours a week and almost all were employed elsewhere.

Terry Mandrell, Natfhe's acting branch chairman at UCE, said: "Our survey makes it clear that people at the business end remain overwhelmingly opposed to the scheme. It raises real quality issues."

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