Casual Contracts Campaign

Letter on Casualised Contracts

Dear Vice Chancellor, members of University Executive Board,

We write as senior academics at the University of Nottingham to urge you to engage in meaningful talks with UCU on the issue of casualisation at our university. According to the latest HESA data, our university employs more than 1000 academics on fixed-term contracts and more than 1400 teachers and researchers on ‘atypical’ contracts.

In November 2016, the extent of our use of precarious contracts became front page news in the national press.

We believe it is source of embarrassment and regret that, two years on, the University still engages front line teaching staff as temporary agency workers through ‘Unitemps’, depriving them of employment rights. It is equally regrettable that no meaningful action has been taken to create more secure employment and address the amounts of unpaid labour taking place on our campuses, as reflected in the different amount of hours allocated to tasks such as preparation of teaching and marking of student work across the various Departments and Schools, resulting in a situation where these colleagues are expected to carry out unpaid work.

We believe that the employment and engagement of academic staff on precarious contracts is damaging to staff and damaging to our university.  

The University plays an important leadership role in the local economy. It cannot be right that we employ and engage people on contracts and pay rates that deprive them of employment rights and leave them struggling to make ends meet. Moreover, the fracturing of academic career paths and the employment of staff on short-term and precarious contracts creates a working world in which it is harder to generate real innovation and more difficult to provide the kind of educational service and relationships that underpin an excellent student experience. Not to take action on casualisation is to gamble with our reputation.

We welcome your recognition that the USS dispute has caused significant damage to trust and confidence in the university community. We also welcome your statement that the University Executive Board will seek to engage more with staff and listen to their concerns.

In the spirit of fulfilling this commitment, we urge you to follow the example of other leading UK universities and engage actively with the University and College Union’s claim for meaningful negotiations on casualisation at the University of Nottingham.


Prof. Andrew Leyshon, Geography                               

Prof. Howard Stevenson, Education

Prof. John Holmwood, Sociology                                   

Prof. Stephen Legg, Geography

Prof. Toni Kapcia, Latin American Studies                 

Prof. Tony Padilla, Physics

Prof. Simon McGrath, Education                                   

Prof. Stephen Joseph, Education

Prof. Andreas Bieler, Politics                                         

Prof. Monica McLean, Education

Prof. Charles Crook, Education                                     

Prof. John Holford, Education

Prof. Tony Bush, Education                                           

Prof. Philip Moriarty, Physics

Prof. Penny Gowland, Physics                                     

Prof. Mark Fromhold, Physics

Prof. Peter Beton, Physics                                             

Prof. Katharine Adeney, Politics

Prof. Peter Ling, American & Can. Studies               

Prof. Shaaron Ainsworth, Education

Prof. Bill Dixon, Sociology                                           

Prof. Alison Pilnick, Sociology

Prof. Paul Heywood, Politics                                       

Prof. Dave Matless, Geography

Prof. Peter Bartlett, Law                                             

Prof. Chris Pierson, Politics

Prof. Steven Fielding, Politics                                     

Prof. John Young, History

Prof. Elizabeth Harvey, History                                 

Prof. Marko Milanovic, Law

Prof. John Jackson, Law                                             

Prof. Jon McGregor, English

Prof. James Moran, English                                       

Prof. Peter Shaw, Biochemistry

Prof. Louise Mullany, English                                   

Prof. Marek Korczynski, Business

Prof. Jeff Kenner, Law                                                 

Prof. Zoltan Dornyei, English

Prof. Helen Cassaday, Psychology                             

Prof. Peter Mitchell, Psychology

Prof. Harold Noonan, Philosophy                             

Prof. Heidi Winklhofer, Business

Prof. Judith Jesch, English                                         

Prof. Tim Parr, Biosciences 

Prof. George Shaw, Biosciences                               

Prof. Andy Salter, Biosciences

Prof. Paul Hegarty, French                           

Prof. Richard Wrigley, Cultural, Media and Visual Studies

Prof. Rachel Fyson, Director of Centre for Social Work

Prof. Roberta Pearson, Film and Television Studies

Prof. Georgina Jackson, Medicine

Prof. Kristian Pollock, Health Sciences


Casual Contracts Survey

Your UCU branch is campaigning to improve the conditions of staff on casualised contracts who teach or research at the university as part of the wider sustainability campaign that also includes our work on the Living Wage.You can find the document that we submitted to Council with proposals on casual contracts, privatisation and the Living Wage here:Sustainability campaign – Council document final

Our survey for teachers on casualised contracts

Imac survey uculogo

We have launched a survey for staff (including postgraduate students) who are employed to teach at the University. Please complete the survey if you are paid by the hour to teach, or  have taught on casual (non-permanent) teaching contracts in either this or the previous academic year. This includes Teaching Affiliates, hourly paid lecturers, tutors, teaching assistants, demonstrators, lab or studio assistants, staff employed to teach a particular module, staff on “rolling” contracts etc.

If you are not affected by this issue personally, you almost certainly know someone who is, so please also share with affected colleagues, and indeed anyone in contact with staff on insecure contracts.

We also have an open meeting on Wednesday 24th at 1.30 in Pope A17 to address this issue. Please share this poster widely: 24th Feb poster

24th Feb poster