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Ground-breaking anti-casualisation agreement at the University of Bath

21 March 2023

After several years of talks and negotiations, the UCU branch at the University of Bath have signed a ground-breaking agreement on a range of anti-casualisation issues with their employer. This followed a member consultation and a 97% vote in favour.

The agreement will benefit 286 staff immediately with a further 181 gaining in the following two years.

The agreement commits to offering all Postgraduate Researchers who teach (GTAs) at least 0.1 FTE, a fractional salaried post with a commitment to working towards extending this to those on less than 0.1 FTE.

It re-affirms the policy that where variable hours teaching fellows have exceeded 0.2FTE over the last 2 years they should be offered a fractional Lecturer / Senior Lecturer contract. This has the potential to offer a genuine route out of precarity and onto a secure career path for this group of staff.

The agreement commits the University 'to making the standard fixed term contract for 2 years or more ... unless external funding or local circumstances (for example, maternity cover) makes this inappropriate', ending the use of 'gap plugging' one-year contracts to cover teaching.

In a genuinely ground-breaking approach (and one that the UCU have been campaigning for, for years) three pilots will be launched where all members of research groups will be moved onto open-ended contracts, with a timeline to see further roll-outs following evaluations of the initial pilots (one is already up and running). If the pilots are successful, the agreement commits to a roll-out of this approach in 2024/25. This would be a first in the sector and its importance cannot be over-stated.

Lastly, the agreement also commits to finding a solution to PhD students who are on stipends that include unpaid teaching work as a quid pro quo, which would guarantee they comply with the principles laid out in the agreement.

Congratulations to the branch, and to everyone involved in the negotiations that secured this Collective Agreement, including the fantastic local team and SW UCU regional support official, Catriona Scott.

For more information see the Bath UCU on Twitter:

Last updated: 21 March 2023