UoN UCU and the Anti-Casualisation Group (Anti-Cas) have won a significant victory in the “Principles of Casual Engagements” (the Principles). The University of Nottingham and UoN UCU agreed to these Principles following negotiations that began in September last year. The negotiations were part of a broader effort to ensure implementation of the UoN-UCU Joint Agreement, which ended the May 2022 Marking and Assessment Boycott.
The Principles help protect casual workers in the Research & Teaching job family from exploitative working conditions by replacing casual engagements with direct contracts of employment in most circumstances.
Casual workers engaged via Unitemps or by the University itself lack many of the rights and benefits of contracted employees. They also report dealing with significant administrative challenges linked to their casual status, including cumbersome timesheets, delayed payments, lack of clarity regarding hours of employment, underpayment for hours worked, and overtaxation, among other concerns.
The value of the Principles is that erstwhile casual workers will enjoy all the rights and benefits of University employees, such as:
- Sick pay and holiday pay
- Pay for all work including trainings and meetings
- Employee benefits like the ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme and various discounts
- Protection under all University policies and procedures, including the redeployment and redundancy policies after completing two years of service
- The right to participate in industrial action including strikes and representation by recognised campus unions.
The Principles are a huge achievement for casual workers at UoN, representing the university’s acceptance of a longstanding demand of the Anti-Cas group. They would not have been possible were it not for years of Anti-Cas campaigning as well as the sacrifices of UCU members participating in industrial action. This pressure helped to push HR towards a more cooperative position that negotiated these principles, which we hope will be replicated in future negotiations on the application of these principles and other sections of the 2022 agreement.
Going forward, UoN UCU and Anti-Cas will be actively involved in overseeing the implementation of the Principles. We are also involved in ongoing discussions to ensure their extension beyond R&T to other job families, including APM, Estates, etc. Finally, we intend to build on this work, shifting our focus from casual workers to negotiating improved employment conditions for staff on fixed-term contracts (FTCs) as well as permanent contracts subject to fixed-term funding. See here for more information