Joint Durham University – Durham UCU statement on casualisation

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Durham University and University and College Union (UCU) at Durham are jointly committed to ensuring that all colleagues working across the University are treated fairly, with terms and conditions and rates of pay which are appropriate and clearly defined.

Last year, following the submission of a claim regarding casual work, the University and UCU began a series of constructive meetings to discuss this issue. Simultaneously a University working group led by Professor Antony Long, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, has been reviewing the University’s flexible workforce to ensure that all staff at Durham are engaged appropriately. It is recognised that this is a complex issue but significant progress is being made.

Casual staff across the University perform distinct and valuable roles in supporting the University deliver its strategy. This includes students who engage in teaching/related roles which provide valuable development opportunities.

Durham UCU and Durham University have agreed a core set of principles that will underpin fair and equitable treatment for those working in casual positions across the University.

In future, the University will limit the use of casual contracts, with a preferred position to offer employment contracts where possible, which will provide improved terms and conditions for colleagues. The University will review our current casual staff and, where appropriate, will transfer these staff onto employment contracts. It is anticipated that this will realise a significant reduction in colleagues engaged on casual contracts. At any time, casual staff may ask that their status as a casual worker be reviewed. Going forward, the University will proactively monitor and manage the use of casual contracts.

There will be equality of opportunity, with all roles advertised and a transparent, proportionate and non-discriminatory recruitment process followed.

Durham UCU and Durham University agree that everyone engaged at the University must be fairly paid for all work that they are required to undertake. There will be equality of payment, with roles aligned to the University pay scales at the appropriate grade, and all employees will receive any annual cost of living increase. There will be transparency over the calculation of workload and payments, along with the expectations of the role.

Durham UCU and Durham University are very pleased to have worked together to reach such a positive understanding, and look forward to the approval of specific recommendations and implementation for the 2020-21 academic year, along with further discussions related to fixed term and other casual arrangements. Further joint statements between UCU and the University will be issued as we make more progress.