Short term and shortchanged

December 3, 1999

Christopher Frayling's article paints a rather negative view of pending legislation on fixed-term contracts. If the staff he employs wish to undertake their duties on a fixed-term basis by mutual consent, there is nothing to stop that taking place. What the law will prevent is the situation whereby fixed-term contracts are used as a blunt management tool (usually by individuals on permanent contracts) instead of using proper personnel management, development and redeployment strategies.

As one of the tens of thousands of university staff on a fixed-term contract, I know I would rather have the choice of fixed-term or permanent employment (rather than it being imposed), and I know which I would opt for.

Peter Parsons Research fellowUniversity of Reading

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