Durham University scraps nine-month contracts

By Julia Atherley

Durham University have announced they will stop employing staff on nine-month contracts.

The decision comes after a campaign by ‘Durham Casuals’, a group set up to combat the casualisation of staff in the University.

The news was circulated in an email sent to heads of department, which has been obtained by The Tab Durham. 

“There’s still more work to be done though, so let’s keep up the momentum!”

The email reads: “Henceforth, therefore, the University will only employ Teaching Fellows for a minimum period of 12 months”.

An anonymous member of the group who was interviewed by Palatinate earlier this month stressed the importance of working for positive change for both staff and students.

The campaign was backed by the University and College Union (UCU) and gained attention from academic staff across the UK.

Jon Bryan, Regional Support Official for the UCU said: “The University’s decision is welcome news for staff at Durham University.

“UCU has consistently raised concerns about the rise in precarious work in higher education sector, and the nine month contract was a particular bone of contention.

“The move will mean more security for staff and we will continue to work closely with the University on the other issues facing staff on insecure contracts.”

‘Durham Casuals’ have since tweeted: “We’d like to thank everyone who has supported our campaign on social media—liking and retweeting us has really helped make a difference. There’s still more work to be done though, so let’s keep up the momentum!”

Professor Antony Long, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Durham University, told Palatinate: “At Durham University we recognise that our staff are key to our continuing success.

“That is why as part of our University Strategy we are investing in how we recruit, develop and reward colleagues, both in academia and in professional services.

“In particular, we want to ensure that our Teaching Fellowships are an attractive proposition and as beneficial as possible to both colleagues, often in the early stages of their careers, and our academic Departments.

“We are continually engaging with teaching staff to explore opportunities for their development.”

Photograph: Andrew Urwin via Flickr

@julia_atherley

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