Could you cope with eight different jobs a week? Alice did it last year trying to make ends meet. It’s not the lifestyle you imagine for a highly educated associate lecturer. Insecure work isn’t something you’d normally associate with the world of academia. The BBC reports.
“It’s just exhausting. You’ve got no security. And you’ve always got to be scouting for work for the next term or academic year.”
She’s currently on a contract with four hours of guaranteed teaching a week in term time at a university in the south of England. She gets paid £40 an hour, which includes her preparation and marking.
I’m usually doing many more hours on top of that, unpaid, to get all the work done. If you’re teaching a new module, it works out less than the minimum wage because of all the extra hours demanded to do the role, from reading time to liaising with students. I would say it’s poverty wages.”
Alice has just finished her PhD, teaching along the way. Last year she found herself shuttling between three different higher education institutions, doing five to six hours in each. She also worked in a bar and taught in schools to top up her pay.
Alice says that, in her department, there are more people being paid by the hour than there are full-time staff – and they are also doing most of the teaching.
So how much teaching in our universities is being delivered by academics who are hourly paid or on insecure contracts?
Jonathan White, the University and College Union’s (UCU) bargaining policy and negotiating official, says: “We’ve argued for years that a lot of the teaching in universities is, in fact, done by people precariously employed, struggling to make ends meet and universities have been trying to sweep it under the carpet.”
Read the full article Could you cope with eight different jobs a week?
Is your working life like this? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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