Management have proposed two new contracts for staff in Modern Languages Evening Programme (MLEP) and the Centre of English Language Teaching (CELT), one zero hours PT contract and one full time teaching only. There is no guarantee that the proposed contracts might not be used elsewhere in the University in the future.The proposed new zero-hour contract is significantly different from any other contract currently held by teaching staff in our university.
A zero-hours contract means that the university is under no obligation to guarantee a minimum number of hours (and hence income). Anyone on such a contract would find out at the start of each term if they had any hours to teach, and additionally, those hours could be canceled by management at any time during the term (for example, if the class size fell below a certain size). Zero-hour contracts effectively mean you are paid only when you are asked to work, instead of being guaranteed regular hours.
In a brief meeting on Tuesday, 18th May, UCU identified the following problems (management responses to date are in brackets):
The process of determining the grade is not clear e.g. is it to be determined by benchmarking against national Role Profiles, against other University contracts, or by HAY evaluation (management’s response: it has been HR
The proposed grade itself is a serious issue, since it is against national policy – academic contracts start at Ac2 level in post-92 institutions. As the proposed contracts stand, they are in breach of nationally agreed terms and conditions (no response from management).
The employee’s right to appeal is not included (no response from management)
The implementation date is unclear – is it 1st of August/1st of September? (response from management: depends on summer teaching commitments)
The progression within grade is not clear (no response from management)
The progression between grades is not clear (management response: there is none!)
The employee’s status for the 0 (zero) hours contract is unclear i.e. it is unclear whether the proposed part-time contract is an employment contract. The way the hourly rate is calculated is unclear. UCU would expect a 2.5 hours pay for every 1 hour of teaching (management response: real rather than notional hours will be calculated with preparation/marking ** individually ** negotiated with HoD)
The proposed notice period from the employer (one week) is problematic (management response: changed to four weeks).
The proposed up to 35 hours teaching per week in the full-time contract are problematic (management response: up to 25 hours teaching per week – UCU’s comment: this is still way above what happens in FE colleges).
Management claimed again that staff are happy with proposals – we would like to hear from these members of staff, because to date, we haven’t met any happy member of MLEP/CELT staff!
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