Victory for the Anti-Casualisation Campaign: the new GTA contracts

On March 1st 2021, the University of Nottingham’s People & HR Committee voted to approve a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) model for hiring postgraduate researchers (PGRs) to teach, to begin in the 2021/22 academic year. These roles will be exclusively offered to PGRs, and are intended to replace the Teaching Affiliate roles that previously existed, involving the preparation and delivery of seminars; provision of student contact hours; and marking responsibilities. Teaching Affiliate roles were hourly-paid and subcontracted to UniTemps, the University’s outsourced temporary engagement agency, offering none of the employment rights that come with having employee status with the University. While still hourly-paid, the new GTA contracts will be fixed-hours, in-house contracts of employment with the University; will grant employee status to PGRs who teach; and will secure pay and employment rights accordingly. This should be seen as a massive win in the fight against casualisation in higher education.

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Graduate Teaching Assistant’s contract

The following motion was passed at the branch meeting on Wednesday March 10th

This meeting notes:

●  That the University of Nottingham People and HR Committee has approved a new Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) model of engaging Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) in paid independent teaching work (e.g. preparing and delivering lectures/seminars, providing contact hours with students, marking assessments).

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Solidarity with the Civil Disobedience Movement in Myanmar

This Motion to Congress was passed at the branch meeting on Wednesday March 10th

Congress notes: 

  1. That the military in Myanmar have seized power and are conducting mass arrests of activists across the country. 
  2. That part of the Civil Disobedience Movement is organised from university campuses, involving student-led protests and strikes by academics. 
  3. That the military is brutally suppressing this resistance, arresting at gunpoint a union leader at Yangon University, Professor Arkar Moe Thu, on 2 March 2021.

Congress resolves:

  1. To extend our solidarity to the Civil Disobedience Movement, and to demand the release of Professor Arkar Moe Thu and others held by the regime. 
  2. To negotiate for students applying from Myanmar to be allowed to use alternative criteria to the IELTS exam due to internal restrictions in the country. 
  3. To demand that universities audit their investments and partners to sever connections with organisations and individuals that are linked to the Burmese military. 

Motion on Health & Safety

The following motion was passed at the Wednesday 3rd February branch meeting.

This meeting notes:

  • the emergence of new, more infectious variants of the coronavirus.

This union branch believes:

  • The UK’s awful record in relation to Covid-19 deaths is directly attributable to the government’s mishandling of the pandemic, with national guidance marked by u-turns, slow responses, and the erroneous belief that economic health could be prioritised over human health. This has been experienced very acutely in the higher education sector where the drive for face to face provision has contributed directly to infection surges among students and the wider community.
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