In December 2018, Durham UCU submitted a claim to the university on casualisation.
In February 2020, the union and university issued a joint statement on casualisation.
The Durham Casuals group has drafted a template email for students to email to the vice chancellor:
Dear Professor Corbridge,
I am writing to express solidarity with my lecturers and concern for the precarious work situations that drove them to strike. Given the increasing size of the tuition fees paid by students, it is extremely worrying that lecturers’ pay and working conditions at Durham University are becoming worse and worse.
I was shocked to find out that so many of my lecturers are paid on an hourly basis with casual contracts that often do not include adequate payment for preparing classes, writing lectures and marking, all of which – I’m sure you’ll agree – are essential parts of good teaching. What’s more, the widespread use of short-term contracts along with gender and ethnic pay discrimination in academia as a whole only add to my mounting concern for the way this university is managed. Students deserve to be taught by lecturers who are not overworked and underpaid. However, this is far from the case and has led me to conclude that my university experience offers very poor value for money and, moreover, exploits those lecturers depended upon to deliver this experience.
I fail to see how Durham can consider itself world-leading university when it is falling so far behind what is acceptable when it comes to lecturers’ working conditions. I hope that you are able to negotiate a solution to these problems with my lecturers as soon as possible.