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University of Cambridge college supervisors win 15% pay rise

5 June 2024

University of Cambridge college supervisors have won an average pay rise worth 15%.

The bumper pay jump follows Cambridge UCU's multi-year 'Justice for College Supervisors' campaign. College supervisors lead undergraduate tutorials, or 'supervisions' as they are known, yet many are precariously employed by colleges and paid an hourly rate. The campaign demanded that supervisors' training be paid, that pay packets properly reflect the full number of hours spent on preparation, and that supervisors be moved from gig-economy style hourly paid contracts into secure employment.

Cambridge's colleges and Cambridge UCU have now agreed new rates for college supervisors that peg pay to the University of Cambridge's salary spine and include multipliers to account for the number of students being supervised. The changes will result in a pay rise worth 15% on average and over 20% for some supervisors.

The agreement also commits colleges to addressing supervisors' gig-economy style hourly paid contracts by the end of 2024. Cambridge UCU has already won pay for mandatory supervisor departmental training. Last year Cambridge UCU also won recognition by the University of Cambridge.

A Justice for College Supervisors spokesperson said: 'After years of campaigning, last year's threat of a historic boycott of the supervision system, and several months of regular negotiations, we are delighted to have reached an agreement with the colleges of the University of Cambridge for a new pay methodology for supervisors, which will come into effect in October 2024. Although it does not fully account for the preparation time required for supervisions, as revealed in the colleges' own recent survey of undergraduate teaching, it is a step closer towards the fair remuneration of supervisors for the work that they do, and a much-needed boost in pay.

'The work done so far is a stellar effort in fighting the casualisation that is rampant in higher education, and we are pleased to see the employers committing to negotiations around contracts starting in the next academic year. Our aim remains to achieve fair and secure payment and employment for all supervisors.'

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'This pay rise is a testament to the hard work of Cambridge UCU, who have waged a multi-year campaign to improve the terms and conditions of college supervisors. These workers are the cornerstone of the University of Cambridge's undergraduate teaching system, and due to our work, they are getting wages that reflect their invaluable contributions.'

'We have now had big wins in two of our three campaign demands, and supervisors are also on course to gaining secure long-term contracts. We look forward to continuing to work with Cambridge's colleges so that supervisors finally get the fair terms and conditions they deserve.'

Last updated: 5 June 2024