Zero tolerance for zero Hours contracts

Londonmet UCU – with Unison and the Students union – anti-casualisation Campaign

Zero tolerance for zero Hours contracts 

Universities employ 48% of teaching staff on insecure temporary contracts. Londonmet has 44-69% of its teaching staff (up to 1030 lecturers) on insecure zero hours contracts, many with no hours of work at all, with many having had no redundancy compensation either. This compares to 456 permanently employed staff.

For lecturers employed on insecure contracts life is one of intolerable insecurity. At any given time, large numbers of the lecturers and tutors on these contracts are without any teaching and have no income. If they do have hours they still have few employment rights; they cannot get mortgages; have little sick pay or holiday pay, and they are often not paid properly for the huge amount of work they do.

London Met operates a two tier system where insecurely employed hourly paid lecturers, even though they often teach core parts of the curriculum, have no paid time for pastoral care of students; cannot contribute to research submissions, are denied paid time for scholarly activity and research opportunities, or to attend and take part in important training activities, and staff meetings. As a result, their career development is substantially restricted.

The working conditions of staff are the learning conditions for students. Zero-hours contracts also impede lecturers from forging the important developmental relationships with students that are critical for a rich educational experience. It is therefore unacceptable for universities such as London Met to market themselves on the basis of a reputation for high quality provision, whilst simultaneously employing large numbers of staff on such damaging and demeaning contracts.

The acceptance of insecure working conditions for any staff member is bad news for all staff, and undermines everyone’s pay, conditions, and job security.

We are demanding:

  1. A renegotiation of the Hourly Paid Lecturer contract to provide a reasonable amount of guaranteed hours; full payment for all work undertaken; full employment rights (including fairly calculated sick pay, holiday pay and maternity rights); paid time for scholarly activity and opportunity to take part in research; and full paid access to staff benefits in line with permanent staff.
  2. That some of our most vulnerable and casualised and exploited staff, are offered fixed-term contracts with guaranteed hours rather than remain as a precarious army scrambling for hours semester to semester. We want fractionalisation for those above 90 hours/year delivering core teaching and who are demonstrably crucial members of the University’s teaching community and Fixed-term Union negotiated contracts for those on less than 90 hours/year.
  3. That there be no further casualisation of staff.
  4. That the current interpretation agreement, clarifying the employment rights of these lecturers, is upheld and acted upon.
  5. That the huge cuts to HPLs’ hours in the present redundancy procedure are reduced.
  6. That no HPL is unfairly victimised by redundancy or loss of hours for speaking out against their working conditions or taking part in recognised tradeunion activity.
  7. That regardless of staff contract, ALL hours worked be accounted for and paid for. If management expect us to do it, we expect them to schedule it and pay for it.



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