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UCU welcomes University of Northumbria's decision to postpone controversial PhD teaching plans

23 June 2016 | last updated: 24 June 2016

UCU has welcomed news that the University of Northumbria has postponed plans that required postgraduate students to teach as a condition of their research stipend and committed to work with the union on any changes.

The union had condemned the original proposal to make PhD students in receipt of a £14,296 stipend to support their studies teach up to 180 hours per year without additional payment as 'grossly exploitative'.

UCU said such a move would directly contradict advice from both the research councils and the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), and amount to forced unpaid labour.

UCU regional official, Iain Owens, said: 'Expecting research students to deliver over five weeks' worth of teaching, on top of their full-time research practice for no extra reward, would have been grossly exploitative and we are pleased they have postponed the move by a year and will consult with us over any new proposals.'

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