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Help us tackle precarity – Members meeting on ‘relevant factors’
November 21 @ 13:00 - 14:00
Please join a members meeting on the University’s use of ‘relevant factors’ at 1:00pm on Tuesday 21 November on Zoom.
The University uses what it calls ‘relevant factors’ to circumvent its duties around job security – see more details below. Cardiff UCU is currently negotiating with the University to end its use of this kind of casualised employment.
Our negotiations have progressed and we now wish to consult members on our way forward.
We particularly encourage less securely employed members to attend, including:
- Staff employed on ‘open-ended contracts with relevant factors’
- Staff employed on fixed-term contracts
- Postgraduate researchers (whether teaching or not)
- Staff employed on variable-hours contracts
More securely employed staff are also welcome to join the meeting and discussion, though will be asked not to vote.
What are ‘relevant factors’? What’s the problem?
UK law states that when employers employ someone for 4+ years continuously on fixed-term contracts, then any subsequent employment for that person must be open-ended or permanent.
Cardiff and most other UK universities get round this legal duty by using what they call ‘open-ended contracts with relevant factors’. The ‘relevant factors’ is a line added to the contract saying it is open-ended, but only for as long as external grant funding lasts.
These contracts are open-ended in name only. Nearly everyone employed on them considers them de facto fixed-term contracts. The use of ‘relevant factors’ is thus a pernicious way the university circumvents its obligations around job security and casualises part of its workforce. There are 470 staff at Cardiff on such contracts, 180 of whom have been working here for 10 years or more — yet still without basic protections.
What’s the current situation?
We have had six months of negotiations, which were initiated by a claim made by Cardiff UCU. The University has now proposed a way to reduce its use of ‘relevant factors’. Cardiff UCU’s negotiators are being supported by the UCU national legal team on these negotiations. We think that the University’s proposal is inadequate and wish to make a counterproposal. At this stage, it is vital we hear from our members, especially those who stand to be affected.