The SU welcomes the news that the University will be disbanding TeachHigher as a result of the serious issues highlighted by our PG members, Sabbatical Officers, student campaigners, UCU and other stakeholders. It is clear from the recent ASM vote against this scheme that there remain serious misgivings around its Terms & Conditions and the impact these will have on casualisation within the workforce.
The University’s present system of employment for Postgraduate students in teaching roles remains extremely problematic, and we welcome the university’s commitment in their statement to transparency and fair pay. Fundamentally, the Students’ Union agrees with the UCU that PGs who teach should be directly employed by the University, and thus subject to the same terms and conditions. The scrapping of TeachHigher and attendant acknowledgement of its shortcomings now places us in a far more advantageous position with a view to ultimately achieving this.
We therefore cautiously welcome the University’s announcement that there will be a series of pilots in selected departments to improve the present casualised system, and will be closely monitoring these to ensure that PGs are paid for all the work they do at nationally-agreed rates of pay. We will continue to exert pressure on the University to ensure that departments offer actual contracts of employment which cover teaching time, preparation time, feedback, marking and office hours.
We would also like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to all those students who have actively campaigned on this issue. While this announcement undoubtedly marks a key victory in the ongoing fight for fair pay in Higher Education, it is important that we now keep up the pressure to ensure that all key concerns are met and we are able to ensure a fair deal for postgraduate teachers and part-time staff members.
The scheduled meeting on TeachHigher in SUHQ this Thursday will still go ahead as planned, as we would like to take this opportunity to gather students’ opinions to feed in to future proposals. Since the proposed demo on 19th June was organised by representatives from Hourly Pay at Warwick and UCU, we await further news on revised plans for this and will update the student body as soon as we know more.