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Reclaim our time

Reclaim our time: ASOS campaign

30 November 2021

Most higher education contracts specify a nominal working week of 35-38 hours. In the case of many academic staff there is a further contractual stipulation that staff may be expected work beyond those hours as reasonably requested by their line manager.

The purpose of the 'reclaim our time' campaign is to expose how much of our own well-being and free time is regularly sacrificed just to keep the system that exploits us afloat, by simply asking all members to work to contract. Our managers need to be forced to confront the unsustainable and dangerous amounts of work created for us, by making our overwork their problem.

What we need you to do

  1. Check the amount of hours stipulated per working week for your role at your institution. This should be on your contract, but you can also check with your branch as they will know what the institutional number is for your contract type.
  2. Use the full template spreadsheet [37kb] or the simplified spreadsheet [13kb] to record the duties you have performed and the nature of the work done. We recommend that you prioritise completing the work that, based on your normal duties and your contract, is most central to your role. You have to ensure that key functions are fulfilled. You should only work the hours specified in your contract.
  3. Calculate (and this may take some estimation) the time you have reclaimed by not doing the overwork. Record this on your UCU template. If you are asked to work additional hours (as may be required in your contract) you should record these on the template as well.
  4. At the end of each week, using the UCU template letter [14kb], send your line manager your timesheet and an outline of what has not been completed. Ask them if they would like you to reprioritise different duties for the following week, or continue with the same prioritisation. If your line manager requests that you work additional hours, you must ask them to quantify those hours, as it will be important to keep a list of what they are willing to instruct staff to do as 'reasonable' overwork. Remember, your contract only requests that you do what is reasonable. We do not think it is reasonable to consistently ask staff to work more than contracted.
  5. Use this form to log the time you calculate you have saved from 'reclaim our time'. We will be collating this data during the Four Fights dispute to highlight the amount of overwork that is done across the HE sector.

Action primer

Catch up on our online session on taking effective ASOS.

Encourage others to reclaim their time

Reclaim our time - flyer [54kb]


Last updated: 2 December 2021