The Russell Group, representing 24 leading universities, has just announced that they will be examining how certain short-term contracts are used.
Zero Hours Justice welcomes aspects of the Russell Group’s announcement, which includes the statement that:
“An area we are all concerned about is how some short-term contracts are used. On the one hand there will always be a need for flexibility: institutions need this, some staff prefer this and it can also create real opportunities. However, we recognise that over-reliance on some forms of employment models and associated contractual arrangements may not serve the best interests of staff, for example in supporting their development and career aspirations. Ultimately, they may also impact on the wider academic mission and the staff and student experience at university.
We believe there is now an urgent need and an opportunity to address these challenges. Working collectively and individually across the Russell Group, we have all committed to collaborate on this to make real progress. We have started by establishing a small working group of senior leaders that will gather and analyse examples of best practice and ensure this is shared across all our universities."
Responding to the announcement, James Johnson-Flint, Director of Zero Hours Justice said:
“We are encouraged by The Russell Group’s announcement that they are at last looking to put an end to their sometime inappropriate use of zero hours contracts. Importantly, and not covered in the announcement, this needs to include those employed indirectly via outsourcing contractors or agencies, who provide significant numbers of cleaners, caterers, security and other essential workers to these establishments.
Large numbers of these workers have for years worked hand to mouth under zero hours contracts and received no more than the minimum wage with no guarantee from day to day that they will be given enough hours to feed their kids or pay their rent.”
“It has been recognised for some years that the UK’s leading universities are some of the worst offenders in higher education with regard to the employment of academics and other workers on insecure zero hours or minimal hours contracts. To get admission that inappropriate use of these contracts may not serve the best interests of staff and may compromise student experience is a major step forward.”
For more information on our work, see zerohoursjustice.org
The full Russell Group announcement can be read at https://russellgroup.ac.uk/news/russell-group-publishes-joint-statement-on-working-practices/
Notes to editors:
Zero Hours Justice is a campaign led by a coalition of concerned citizens working together, with representatives from the TUC and responsible employers, with the aim of ending zero hours contracts when imposed unilaterally against a worker’s will.
The aims of Zero Hours Justice are
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