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UCU report exposes gig-economy reality of university research departments - have your say!

31 January 2024

Today UCU has released a new report on the widespread use of insecure and short-term contracts for researchers in higher education.

The shocking findings reveal that around two in three research staff are employed on fixed-term contracts, including 88% of research staff at the University of Oxford, 96% at King's College London, 80% at the University of Manchester and 96% at London School of Economics.

Please read the report and use our online tool to see what percentage of research staff at your institution are kept on fixed-term contracts. Help us increase pressure on your employers by sharing the results on social media.

Juggling several jobs, constantly searching for the next fixed term opportunity, moving across the country, commuting hours to work, unable to put down roots, and having to start from scratch over and over again, has a devastating impact on our health and relationships. We have to deliver change.

I have written to the government and UCEA to demand that they take decisive, sector-wide action. Employers must commit to ending the sector's reliance on fixed-term contracts. We need permanent and secure contracts now.

On Tuesday 6 February, I give oral evidence to the Education Select Committee. Both UCEA and the government will also be in attendance.

I want to ensure I am speaking on your behalf and on your issues. This is why I am giving you the chance to shape my contribution. Please send your thoughts, concerns, and subjects you want to see raised to me here.

I commit to raising as many as I can, and I will also produce video and written content covering those I am unable to.

This government is on borrowed time. It is time to put the employers in a position where they work with us to deliver a stronger and more secure higher education sector, or we will expose and challenge them at every opportunity.

In solidarity

Jo Grady
UCU general secretary

Last updated: 5 February 2024