The UCU anti-casualisation group has been collecting testimonies and anecdotal evidence on precarious work across the University and have come across many worrying practices, with evidence of some staff kept in precarious contracts for as long as 20 years and not being properly recognized for the work they routinely carry on. Within Cardiff UCU members (excluding postgraduates and retired members), 32.3% are on non-secure contracts, including (nearly) zero-hour contracts. Casual staff are likely to be under represented in our membership and HESA figures point to 48.6% of academic staff in Cardiff University being on fixed-term or atypical contracts in 2016/17, with atypical contracts accounting for more than half of this figure.
Secure and fair job conditions are paramount for the success of the University with staff’s motivation, goodwill, creativity, morale, well-being and, ultimately, productivity and performance suffering greatly when these fail and other investments become the priority; all feeding into to crisis as the one we are currently facing, with increasing workload pressures in parallel with the vicious circle of programs such as “Transforming Cardiff”.
In this context, UCU is collecting evidence on the levels of precarious working conditions at Cardiff University to form a better picture of the problem and how it affects staff and to effectively challenge the University about such practices. In order to capture this across the whole university, this survey is open to all current and past Cardiff University staff, regardless of union membership or contract type.Unfortunately, as negotiations are still ongoing to recognise postgraduate tutors/demonstrators as employees, the survey cannot be completed by postgraduates. However, we are campaigning strongly on this issue and hope to have more news for you in January. In the meantime, please do get in touch with Rowan Campbell (CampbellRH@cardiff.ac.uk) if you have any issues related to postgraduate teaching.
We urge all our members (who are not postgraduate students) to please engage with this survey and share it with colleagues as much as possible. Thank you. As we are trying to reach all the staff, we will also be sending separate emails to different staff email lists so apologies if you encounter this more than once.