Birmingham UCU calls on University of Birmingham to follow example of Sheffield University and end ‘casual worker’ contracts for teaching staff

Birmingham University and College Union (UCU) welcomes the news that the University of Sheffield will no longer employ teaching staff on ‘casual worker’ contracts. It is calling on management at the University of Birmingham to follow Sheffield’s positive example and bring all teaching staff onto full employment contracts.

The news that teaching staff at the University of Sheffield will no longer be employed on insecure ‘casual worker’ contracts represents a major win in Sheffield UCU’s campaign against casualisation.

Casual employment endemic in higher education

To the shame of the sector, tens of thousands of higher education teaching staff are employed as ‘workers’ which means that they miss out on key employment rights and other staff benefits. 46% of universities use zero hours contracts to deliver teaching and 68% of research staff in higher education are on fixed term contracts, with many more dependent on short-term funding for continued employment.

Dr Phil Child, Birmingham UCU Anti-casualisation Officer, said: “I and the rest of the Birmingham UCU Committee are delighted to hear that Sheffield University have backed down in the face of pressure from Sheffield UCU and ended the use of casualised teaching contracts.

“All staff who previously delivering teaching on a casualised contract will be put onto full employment contracts.

“This is a massive win and we call on the University of Birmingham to do the same.”

Effects of casualisation

UCU believes that high quality education and fair working conditions depend on contracts that give staff stability and continuity of employment.

It’s totally unnecessary to employ people in this way for teaching work and the only advantage for university employers is that workers are cheaper to employ and easier to discard. Even more shamefully, the use of workers is heavily concentrated in the ‘elite’ Russell Group of universities, of which the University of Birmingham is a member.

Time to stamp out casual contracts

To find out more about UCU’s campaign to stamp out casual contracts, please follow the link below:


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