Southampton Solent University settles over pay dispute

Part-time lecturer settles out of court over claims that he was paid a lower rate compared with full-time colleagues

July 3, 2014

Southampton Solent University has settled out of court with a part-time lecturer who brought an employment tribunal case claiming that he was paid a lower rate of pay than full-time colleagues in comparable roles.

Jon Sanders, a film-maker and associate lecturer at the institution, said he suffered less favourable treatment as a consequence of his part-time status at the institution.

Southampton Employment Tribunal ruled in February that the academic had grounds to take a case forward after deciding that he was engaged in similar work to full-time colleagues identified as comparators.

A hearing to determine liability in the case had been set to take place this week, but Times Higher Education understands that it has now been settled out of court. Neither Mr Sanders nor the university would comment on details of the settlement.

Southampton Solent employed 315 part-time academic staff compared with 440 full-time staff in 2012-13, according to Higher Education Statistics Agency data.

A spokeswoman for the institution said: “Southampton Solent University is committed to equal pay for its employees. We have a very good track record on two-yearly equal pay reviews, with much better than sector average outcomes.”

She added that associate lecturer pay and conditions were reviewed by a cross-university working group in 2013. “This detailed review studied and discussed the role and payment arrangements for associate lecturers, consulted with the trade unions and produced recommendations to bring clarity to the job profile, produce a robust grade structure and strengthen the conditions of the associate lecturer role,” she said.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said thousands of university staff across the sector were denied fair pay or terms and conditions because they are not on a full-time contract.

She added that it remained “a source of great shame” that part-time and casual staff were treated differently by some universities. “Our universities need to learn that excellence thrives in conditions where staff are treated fairly and given proper, professional contracts,” Ms Hunt said.

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