News in brief

March 1, 2012

Working conditions

9 to 5? Don't think so

Teachers and lecturers are more likely to work unpaid overtime than workers in any other occupation, according to union figures. The data, released by the Trades Union Congress, show that 55.6 per cent of teaching and education professionals work unpaid overtime. On average, they put in an extra 9.6 hours a week, the TUC claims. Second in the list are directors and managers in the financial sector (52.7 per cent). Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: "The government cannot keep expecting more for less from such dedicated people, particularly when their reward is real-terms pay cuts and attacks on their pensions." But a spokesman for the Universities and Colleges Employers Association said: "Institutions tell us that their academic professionals regard...personal flexibility as one of the most valued features of working in the sector."

Research councils

He's got the right kind of energy

The former chairman and chief executive of energy firm E.ON UK has been selected as the government's preferred candidate for the chairmanship of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Paul Golby, who is Aston University's pro-chancellor, would replace the current EPSRC chair, Sir John Armitt, who steps down at the end of the month. The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee will hold a pre-appointment hearing on 7 March and report on Dr Golby's suitability for the post.

Validation

Period of reflection

Glyndwr University and the controversial recruitment company A4e have agreed that they need more time to negotiate a partnership that would see the institution validate the firm's awards. Last October, Glyndwr announced that it would train A4e staff, who would in turn offer higher education to unemployed people. Four former employees at A4e, which handles government contracts to find jobs for the unemployed, have been arrested on suspicion of fraud. Emma Harrison has stood down as company chairman and as the coalition's "family champion". A spokesman for Glyndwr said that "even before these allegations surfaced, the period of negotiations concerning the nature of any relationship with A4e had been extended by mutual consent".

ONLINE NOW

"News that Sandra Kemp, head of the London College of Communication, had consulted PR guru Max Clifford over her and the college's reputation attracted online comment. "Charles" said: "Surely it is the students and staff who are the best PR agents? If they are happy then they will tell all their friends and colleagues as much. This should be the priority. Address the real issues, repair the damage caused with integrity and the reputation will build up again. Hopefully Mr Clifford told these people as much."

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