UCU welcomes move from NCG to tackle insecure contracts

6 September 2018 | last updated: 21 September 2018

UCU has today welcomed a commitment from NCG to provide more security of employment in its colleges. The unions say staff without permanent contracts are unable to plan their lives as they don't know how many hours they will work or what they may earn on a monthly basis.

Under the new plans, casual contracts will be restricted to eight weeks and after two years staff will be given a permanent contract. NCG has six colleges across England and will roll out the plan initially at its two Newcastle sites.

UCU says moving staff from zero-hours style contracts to permanent ones in two years could transform people's lives. Research from UCU in 2015 found that staff on casual contracts have struggled make ends meet.

Over half of survey respondents (56%) working in further education said that they had struggled to pay household bills. Around two-fifths (39%) had had problems keeping up with mortgage or rent commitments and three in 10 (29%) said they had had difficulties putting food on the table.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'We are delighted with this new approach from NCG. This added level of security can be life changing for staff. Some of the most vulnerable staff will go from not knowing what they might be earning each month to being able to better plan their life.

'This move from NCG sets a benchmark for good practice and it is up to other colleges and universities to follow suit. We are keen to work with any institution that wants to eradicate the scourge of insecurity for its staff.'

Joe Docherty, CEO of NCG, said: "Working constructively with our trade union partners is really important to us and I'm delighted that we have worked closely with the unions to provide a framework which improves the job security of colleagues, and still allows those who wish to work flexibility to do so. It's an important development which I am pleased to support."

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