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Stamp out casual contracts

New report highlights endemic casualisation at Oxford University

3 November 2023

A new report by Oxford University UCU has highlighted endemic casualisation and poor working conditions at the University of Oxford.

Oxford UCU have recently published a report: 'Beyond HESA: Pay and Working Conditions for Casualised Staff in Oxford Colleges and the Department for Continuing Education' which uncovers some shocking statistics about the working conditions of casualised staff.

These include:

  • 66% of academics employed by the University of Oxford are employed on a fixed-term contract (the national average is 33%)(HESA staff data 2021/22). Oxford UCU believes that this figure is likely an under-estimate, as Oxford Colleges do not submit data to HESA. 
  • Once marking and preparation time is factored in, the pay of hourly paid workers often amounts to less than the National Living Wage.
  • Women are especially affected by these conditions, since they are much more likely to occupy casualised roles. The evidence suggests that extremely low pay produces a lack of ethnic and socio-economic diversity, and discriminates against disabled staff (among others).
  • The survey data shows that hundreds of University and College staff members are effectively locked into a cycle of short- or very short-term contracts, sometimes lasting decades.
  • Because casualised academic work in Oxford is generally insecure and poorly paid, staff often juggle roles which together amount to far more than full-time equivalent hours.

Read the full report on the Oxford UCU website.

Well done to everyone involved at Oxford University UCU in bringing these shocking statistics to light. Let's hope it helps move the employer to work with UCU to improve local conditions.

Last updated: 3 November 2023