More than 100,000 part-time lecturers could be pushed into "bogus" self employment as universities and colleges exploit a loophole to avoid new legislation on part-time workers' rights, lecturers' union Natfhe has warned.
Woolwich College has given notice of intention to "dismiss" almost 600 part time lecturers, with plans to re-engage many via an employment agency so it can avoid the regulations, according to Natfhe general secretary Paul Mackney. Croydon College also faces industrial action over plans to employ new lecturers through an agency.
The union has urged the Department of Trade and Industry to extend its planned new regulations on part-time workers to include staff employed by agencies.
They would then be included in sex and race discrimination legislation and minimum wage rules.
Mr Mackney complained that a number of agencies were selling themselves on the basis of the loophole. He warned that lecturers' employment agency ELS was "openly flaunting on its website the fact that they provide a means whereby colleges and universities can shed many of their obligations under employment legislation".
Woolwich said its plans to use ELS were not an attempt to avoid the laws and were at an early stage.