An employment charter for postgraduate students was delivered to student and staff unions last week for consultation, writes Caroline Davis.
The charter, drawn up by the National Postgraduate Committee, the Association of University Teachers and the National Union of Students, outlines the rights and conditions students should expect. It was distributed to local union branches as a starting point for discussions with universities.
"Many postgraduates start work without being told what their responsibilities are, how many hours they are expected to work or what their rate of pay will be," said Tamara Joseph, organising officer at the AUT. Nor do they have access to grievance procedures.
The charter calls for a written letter of terms and conditions of employment, adequate training for the work undertaken and pay for all employment responsibilities and hours of work.
An NUS/AUT survey of postgraduate students last year found that on average postgraduate students work twice as many hours as they are paid for.