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Over 340 casualised academics at University of Cambridge demand fair pay & conditions

30 April 2021

Over 340 supervisors of undergraduate students at the University of Cambridge have signed a petition demanding better pay and conditions. Senior college representatives are meeting today to discuss their demands.

Supervisors employed by Cambridge's colleges provide essential support to undergraduate students and are the backbone of the collegiate university's world-renowned teaching system, but many lack employment contracts and are paid poverty wages. 

The petition, addressed to the senior tutors at Cambridge's 31 colleges, is part of the #justice4collegesupervisors campaign launched by Cambridge University and College Union (CUCU) and Cambridge Students' Union (CSU). It demands college supervisors are paid properly for the full number of hours spent on class preparation, receive paid training, and are provided with employment contracts. CUCU and CSU have written three papers, one on pay, one on contracts and one on paid training, that set out why the colleges need to meet these demands to improve supervisors' pay and conditions.

The 31 tutors meet today as part of the senior tutors' education committee. At the meeting, they will discuss CUCU and CSU's jointly written paper on contracts. The paper on pay was discussed at the senior tutors' student finance and welfare committee on Monday (26 April). On 16 April CUCU asked to attend Monday's meeting, but only 25 minutes before the meeting started the branch was told they would not be allowed to attend.

Accounts show the University of Cambridge and its colleges have combined assets of well over £11bn.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Today the leaders of Cambridge's colleges have an opportunity to begin fixing a serious injustice. The university and its colleges have an almost unimaginable level of wealth, yet many of the supervisors who underpin the undergraduate teaching system are on poverty wages with no job security. 

'Over 340 supervisors have made clear they will not accept working under these conditions. If Cambridge cares about the welfare of its staff and the tuition its undergraduates receive then the very least it needs to do is meet supervisors' demands. Until it does so, UCU will continue to support staff in their fight for proper employment rights.'

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