Contracts to kill

April 17, 1998

MANY universities regard fixed-term researchers funded by "soft" money as different from other fixed-term staff whose jobs would traditionally be permanent.

The Association of University Teachers' position is rather different. While acknowledging that fixed-term contracts exist, but seeking to minimise their use, the AUT states that "people should not be employed on fixed-term contracts" (motion 56, AUT Council, May 1997). The Leeds local association of AUT has argued for permanent contracts for all because, in aggregate, research funding is as secure as funding council money.

The dual-funding mechanism is no excuse for discriminating against staff, nor are fixed-term contracts a substitute for proper career management, probation and personnel procedures and policies.

Jeremy Toner. Treasurer, Leeds AUT

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