Lecturers strike over change to contracts

5th June 2009 at 01:00
Lecturers staged a one-day strike at Liverpool Community College this week in protest at a change in contracts that could mean staff working longer hours, including evenings, weekends and bank holidays

University and College Union members are angry at changes to contracts for new staff from September that will raise the cap on teaching time from 25 to 28 hours a week. The college says this is to ensure all staff fulfil their contracts, which stipulate an annual maximum of 832 teaching hours.

Maureen Mellor, the principal, said: "Because of the weekly limit on hours, we have a significant number of staff who cannot reach their annual hours, and we want to make sure that this is not a constraint for new staff."

She said the new contracts, which do not apply to existing staff, mean newcomers may have to work the anti-social hours.

"We run teaching programmes at the weekend and evenings, so it may be that on occasions we have to teach in the evenings or at weekends or, very occasionally, on a bank holiday," Ms Mellor said. "This is standard practice in most organisations."

The union said that it would not object to a 28-hour week if it was recognised that this level of teaching time was for short periods only. It also said it would be flexible on weekend and holiday working as long as this was negotiable between staff and their managers. The union has already agreed to a three-year Pounds 29,000 cap on the salaries of new teaching staff from September.

Alison McDowell, chair of the college branch of UCU, said: "No one wants to take industrial action, but there has been no movement at all from the management on contact hours."

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