Six in ten Lancaster University teaching staff on insecure contracts

Lancaster University has been named on an '˜insecurity index' with nearly six in 10 of its teaching staff employed on insecure contracts.

Friday, 15th April 2016, 6:00 am
Lancaster University.

Lancaster University has been named and shamed on an ‘insecurity index’ with nearly six in 10 of its teaching staff employed on insecure contracts.

The university is 22nd on a list of the top 50 worst offending colleges and universities, according to research on precarious employment by the University and College Union (UCU).

The report on higher education finds that almost six in ten (58.7 per cent) teaching staff at Lancaster University are employed on an insecure contract.

Across the UK, the report states that 49 per cent of teaching staff in universities are on insecure contracts.

A university spokesman said: “Fixed-term contracts are only used infrequently and where strictly necessary, such as where work only exists because it is linked to a particular short-term funding source or project.

“Staff are moved on from fixed-term to permanent contracts wherever possible, as shown by the average length of service of staff and the number of permanent staff who started on a fixed term contract at the university.

“The university does engage staff on a casual basis where necessary to meet the needs of flexible teaching provision for example.

“The university has made the conscious decision to employ no staff on zero contracts hours.

“We also run an internal temporary employment service (known as the Employment and Recruitment Service) which replaces the need to use external employment agencies and provides valuable temporary and casual employment opportunities for our students along with members of the local community.

“These figures have been included in the UCU report and have therefore distorted the real picture relating to our core workforce.

“Lancaster University is committed to being a good employer and has recently announced a Partnership Agreement between the university and the recognised trade unions.

“This sets out a framework to promote progressive employee relations in support of the continued success of the university and we will continue to work in partnership with our trade unions and staff to ensure sustainable and secure approaches to employing staff.”

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “These reports show there is a damaging ‘hire and fire’ zero hours culture flourishing in our colleges and universities.

“The worst offenders employ a significant majority of their teaching staff on insecure contracts, and many more institutions are relying far too heavily on them.

“We know that a teacher’s ability to do a good job is compromised if they are on an insecure contract.

“We need colleges to engage in better workforce planning that gives staff stable jobs. Such a huge proportion of insecure contracts has real potential to undermine the future of high-quality education at these institutions.”