University of Edinburgh agrees to stop using zero-hours contracts

 

Paul Gallagher
Friday 06 September 2013 14:17
Comments
The University of Edinburgh employs 2,712 staff on zero-hours contracts
The University of Edinburgh employs 2,712 staff on 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.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in