University of Edinburgh agrees to stop using zero-hours contracts

 

The University of Edinburgh on Friday promised to end its policy of hiring staff on zero hours contracts after being named and shamed as the UK’s worst supporter in Higher Education of the controversial employment practice.

Research by the University and College Union (UCU) revealed 2,712 people at the prestigious Russell Group institution are on zero-hour contracts of whom 2,382 were in teaching and research posts.

Negotiations on Thursday between the UCU and university resulted in a signed agreement and the union said it is keen to work with any university to improve terms and conditions for staff.

More than half of UK universities – including Cambridge and Oxford with 83 and 205 staff respectively – use zero-hour contracts, but the numbers employed varied massively and very few institutions had any policies on their use. More than 60 per cent of further education colleges in England, Wales and Northern Ireland also have teaching staff on zero-hour contracts, according to UCU research compiled using Freedom of Information requests.

It has been claimed up to a million UK workers could be on zero-hours contracts, four times the official estimate.

Philip Roddis, 60, taught at Sheffield Hallam University for 400 hours a year over seven years from 2006, but his hours dropped to 60 last year without notice. As he had always been known as an associate lecturer, he was not aware he was on a zero-hour contract and believes most of those who are on these contracts do not realise it.

He said: “I am very disenchanted with higher education. Zero-hour contracts are a crude solution and are morally highly questionable. They will have an adverse impact on the loyalty of teachers. Students, parents and the public at large don’t know what’s going on.”

UCU president Simon Renton, said: “Flexibility for a few is no defence against the widespread use of zero-hour contracts and the murky world of casualisation in our universities and colleges. Edinburgh is transforming itself from the institution with the most number of staff on zero-hour contracts to none. We are keen to work with other institutions who also wish to demonstrate they can be responsible employers.”

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

AER Teachers: Graduate Primary Teaching Assistant

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: This central London prima...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you a recent graduate loo...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic