THE AUT has voted for outright opposition to fixed-term contracts amid fears that within three years fewer than one in five academics will enjoy the security of a permanent contract. Council passed a motion deploring the rapid rise in universities' use of fixed-term contracts. Delegates rejected an executive amendment which tried to moderate the motion by allowing for the use of fixed-term employees in covering for maternity leave and extended sickness leave.
Another motion condemning fixed-term contracts attracted a similar amendment from the executive. This amendment was carried, but only after AUT president Philip Burgess used his casting vote following a tie at 63 votes for and 63 against.
The union said that around half of all academic and relateduniversity posts are fixed-term at present and predicts that this could grow to 85 per cent by 2000.
The union also called for a ban on waiver clauses in anticipation of Labour government legislation outlawing them.