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UCU response to education committee's inquiry into value for money in universities

15 September 2017

Responding to news that the education select committee is launching an inquiry into value for money at universities, UCU said the time had come to look at pay levels and the widespread use of exploitative and insecure contracts.

The union said it would be making a submission ahead of the 23 October deadline and that students and their parents had a right to know if lecturers were secure in their employment, as it does impact on the quality of teaching they can deliver. The union said there is now a large body of research in the US, compiled over a 20-year period, which shows casualisation has a clear impact on teaching quality.

More than two-fifths (42%) of staff on casual contracts, such as controversial zero-hours contracts, in universities and colleges have struggled to pay household bills, according to UCU research. Over a third (35%) reported that they struggled to meet rent or mortgage demands and an alarming one in five (21%) said that they struggled to put food on the table. 

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'We welcome the education committee's inquiry into value for money in education. Our submission will highlight both the huge disparity in staff and senior pay and also the shockingly high number of lecturers forced onto casual and zero-hours contracts.

'It cannot be right that the people teaching our students are constantly anxious, not knowing from term-to-term, or even week-to-week, whether they will have a job or how much they might earn. We believe students and their parents have a right to know if their lecturers have access to office space at the university or are secure in their employment, as this has a real impact on the quality of education those teachers are able to deliver.'


Last updated: 15 September 2017