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Stamp Out Casual Contracts

The UCU 'Stamp Out Casual Contracts' campaign is intended to be a high profile campaign highlighting the work that UCU is undertaking in fighting casualisation in further and higher education.

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UCU has a long history of fighting casualisation and demanding fair treatment for all our members and we know that campaigns against casualisation are supported by all our members - not just those who are directly affected.


Casualisation in all its forms is a blight to further and higher education bringing with it inefficiency, inequality and personal stress.

We want to change that. The aim of the campaign is to challenge casualisation, making all members aware of the issues, giving branches the materials and support they need to make a difference locally, and encouraging staff on casualised contracts to join and become involved in UCU.


Important : ImportantAnti-casualisation day of action - 5 November

UCU is holding a day of action against casualisation in universities and colleges on Wednesday 5 November.

Zero hours contracts are rarely out of the news at the moment yet our colleges and universities employ huge numbers of staff on these exploitative contracts.

Teaching and particularly research are highly casualised, with almost 70% of researchers employed on fixed-term contracts.

With all political parties wanting to be seen to act on zero hours contracts and employers vulnerable to reputation damage, now is a great time to highlight the casualisation of our sector and push forward the argument that high quality education depends on secure contracts and continuity of employment.
UCU wants to make this our biggest yet day of action on casualisation. A chance for members and branches to put pressure on employers and politicians.

We will have more details on how you can help support the day of action soon, but all branches have been asked to organise events so contact your officers and find out what is being planned.


Government consultation on zero-hours contracts

In February 2014 the government launched an online consultation on the use of zero-hours contracts which focuses on:

  • exclusivity clauses
  • improving transparency
  • questions for employers and individuals on how these types of clauses operate in practice.

UCU's submission to the consultation is available here:
 (.pdf) file type icon UCU response to the zero hours consultation, Mar 14 (.pdf) [133kb]

Spotlight on zero-hours contracts

There has been a welcome and increased focus over recent months, both in the press and political circles, on the use of zero-hours, or 'hours to be notified', contracts. See below for some of the recent developments:

UCU to press government over zero-hours contracts

UCU response to Labour's zero-hour contracts plans

Zero hours in universities: 'You never know if it'll be enough to survive' (Guardian)

University of Edinburgh vows to abolish zero-hour contracts

Over half of universities and colleges use lecturers on zero-hour contracts

Research reveals huge underestimation in number of workers on zero-hours contracts

UCU response to Nick Clegg's zero-hours contracts investigation

UCU's legal fight over contracts

September 2013: UCU is taking its fight for job security to the European Commission on the basis that a change to employment law contravenes the requirement not to discriminate against fixed term workers:

Union goes to European Commission in legal fight over contracts at universities and colleges

Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (Amendment) Order 2013


The specific aims of the campaign are:

  • to increase the use of permanent contracts for the many professional staff employed on casualised contracts across further, higher and adult education
  • to resist vulnerable employment, including the imposition of zero hours contracts, bogus self-employment, pay lower than that of colleagues doing comparable work, detrimental variable (minimum) hours contracts; and to seek equal treatment for agency workers
  • to oppose selection for redundancy on the basis of being on a fixed-term and/or part-time contract
  • to transfer hourly paid and other staff on casualised contracts to full-time or fractional contracts with the same terms and conditions as permanent, full-time salaried staff
  • to increase the recruitment and activism within UCU of those on casualised contracts, and to encourage their voices to be heard
  • to push for fair working conditions for staff on casualised contracts, including photocopying facilities and desk space.

The campaign pages contain a wealth of information for branches/LAs and members to help in the fight against casualisation. We hope that you find these resources useful.

Further information about the campaign can be obtained from:

If you are a member who has a query about any issue please contact your branch or local association in the first instance: contact details can be found here

Stamp out casual contracts - professional contracts : Professional contracts for professional people
UCU member services: Log in here to update your record online
About the fighting fund
See also

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