About 20,000 part-time university lecturers on hourly rates have won the right to fully paid annual leave, writes Alan Thomson.
Lecturers' union Natfhe and the Association of University Teachers have hammered out a deal with the universities that protects the nationally-agreed hourly rate of pay for part-time staff in the face of the annual leave regulations that appear in the new European Working Time Directive.
Staff in pre-1992 universities do not have a nationally-negotiated hourly rate because pay is negotiated through individual institutions.
The directive guarantees all full-time employees a minimum three-week annual holiday and pro-rata paid entitlement for those on contracts of more than 13 weeks.
The directive says that all employers must make this paid entitlement explicit but left them with implementation options.
The unions were worried that the new universities would opt to reduce part-timers' hourly rates to "cover" the annual leave that they, as employers, would have to pay under the directive.
But agreement with the Universities and Colleges Employers Association means that the current Pounds 25.17 per hour, negotiated in 1988, which includes a 15 per cent loading for annual leave, is now clearly identified.
The deal amounts to a formula that can be used to calculate paid annual leave entitlements for part-timers on a pro-rata basis with full-time staff.
Crucially, UCEA has agreed that it applies to part-time staff working fewer than 13 weeks a year. And, as a result of the negotiations, the unions have an undertaking from UCEA to negotiate on the basic hourly rate for all part-time, hourly-paid staff once the Bett inquiry into pay and conditions in higher education files its report next year.
Whistleblowers for college lecturers, page 6