Six demands for fair teaching conditions at Warwick


Hourly-paid teachers play a crucial role at the University of Warwick. They teach seminars, tutorials and labs; mark essays, tests and exams; give advice and feedback; and perform a whole host of administrative tasks. As the University increasingly promotes the high quality of its teaching and the high level of student satisfaction, hourly-paid teachers are becoming more and more central to its business model. Yet, despite carrying out the same duties as salaried members of staff, they remain in a much more precarious position.

A Guardian investigation reported that 68.1% of academics at Warwick work on precarious contracts. A survey of hourly-paid teachers carried out in March 2016 suggested that 24% of hourly-paid teachers at Warwick effectively earn less than the Government’s National Living Wage (£7.20 per hour). The University has set up a pilot scheme to reassess the terms and conditions of sessional teaching, the Sessional Teaching Payroll (STP), but this solution remains deeply unsatisfactory. The STP is a top-down and non-transparent process, in which hourly-paid teachers have little input and which continues to greatly underestimate the time requirements for teaching-related tasks.

In contrast, we are circulating this petition in an effort to achieve truly fair conditions for teachers at Warwick. The recent gains won by hourly-paid teachers at the University of Essex show that another model for teaching is possible. Teachers at Warwick deserve pay and contracts that properly reflect their work, their skills and their overall importance for the functioning of the University. This would not only improve the working conditions of teachers, but also the learning conditions of students.

We the undersigned demand that:

1) Hourly-paid teachers must be made employees of the University. Currently, hourly-paid teachers hold the inferior legal status of ‘workers’ but not of ‘employees’. This deprives them, unjustifiably, of the standard employment rights enjoyed by salaried members of staff.

2) Hourly-paid teachers must be paid for every hour worked. Assigned time allowances do not reflect the reality of teaching. As a result, teachers have to work many unpaid hours.

3) Hourly-paid teachers must be paid at consistent and fair rates. Some departments pay different rates for different tasks within the same job, despite them being interconnected and requiring the same skill level. To recognise the level of skill involved in the teaching delivered, we demand a pay rate of at least FA5 for all tasks.

4) There must be pay harmony across departments. At the moment pay rates vary across departments; we demand equal pay for equal work across departments.

5) Compulsory teaching as a condition for scholarships must be abolished. Teaching bursaries are exploitative because they basically require PhD students to work for free. Not only do these arrangements make it hard for postgraduate researchers to meet their actual living costs, but they are also not conducive to the long-term quality of teaching.

6) Hourly-paid teachers should be paid for the hours they spend undertaking teaching-related training. This should include all hours needed to achieve affiliate Higher Education Academy (HEA) status.

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This petition has been launched by Warwick Anti-Casualisation, a coalition of hourly paid staff at Warwick organising for better working conditions. For the full text of the petition, click here: http://bit.ly/6demandspetition

You can immediately help hourly paid tutors at the University of Warwick to further these demands by signing this petition.

More information on the Teaching Diaries Survey can be found on Warwick Anti-Casualisation's website: http://warwickanticasualisation.wordpress.com.

If you want to get involved with Warwick Anti-Casualisation, here you can find our Facebook page: https://en-gb.facebook.com/Warwick-Anti-Casualisation-1446427442335384/

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