UCU and the University of Sheffield reach agreement over casual teaching arrangements and commit to further joint work.

Following concerns being raised by UCU, and negotiations between representatives of the University and the Sheffield UCU branch, a revised position on the use of casual engagements for those undertaking teaching has been agreed by the University Executive Board. Following negotiations with the University, it was agreed that all regular scheduled teaching would be undertaken by staff on an employment contract, making this the default position across the University. This led to the creation of a new GTA contract and the agreement that casual worker agreements can only be used if the work is genuinely of a short term or ad hoc nature (e.g. professional practitioners enhancing learning and teaching or one-off guest lectures). 

This signals positive progress on our campaign to end casualisation in our sector. Although the fight is far from over, having won GTA contracts at Grade 6 and Grade 7 means that there will be more security for GTAs across the university. This includes access to the same rights as other employees across the university including holiday pay, sick pay and The Deal scheme. 

Whilst the changes above mean that Sheffield UCU is able to close its claim from 2017 on casual teaching, tackling casual working and precarity of employment remains a key element of UCU’s national HE campaigns and the fight at Sheffield is far from over. We still have a long way to go both in terms of recognising the level of work undertaken by GTAs and the precarity that casualised colleagues face. 

Alongside our campaigning at a national level, over the coming year, we hope to improve pay and conditions for colleagues across the university. Using the new Grade 7 GTA contract, we aim to encourage departments to remunerate the hard work undertaken by GTAs by reviewing their pay grades. We also hope to develop a best practice guide for GTA employment across the university and work to recruit UCU ‘casuals’ reps to alongside existing departmental reps. 

If you’re keen to get involved in the campaign to end casualisation at Sheffield or need advice and support, do get in touch with the branch.