Researchers’ Workshop Your rights What needs to change How to make changes
Big contributionLittle reward • Projects, experiments etc are short term but research programmes are long term • Can be demotivating – under-valued, researchers take on main burden of risk • Inefficient – promising researchers leave. Lack of dissemination of information. Break-up of teams. Transferable skills not recognised
Researchers – a priority • Negotiate agreements that increase job security • Negotiate on support for research careers • Raise researchers’ issues with ministers, funding councils and all interested parties • We need more researchers to join us: your voice is heard; issues raised; a stronger negotiating position
About UCU • Negotiate your pay and conditions locally and nationally • Provide individual advice and support (backed by UCU legal scheme) • The voice of your profession – education policy, research funding and strategy, defending jobs, pensions, education provision
Fixed term facts and figures The picture across the UK is that the percentage of fixed-term contracts in use for research staff is on the decline. However, the figures for 2010/11 remain a cause for concern: 68.9% (70.8% 2009/10)
Use of FTCs However, there are huge differences in how HEIs use FTCs for research staff. We do know that FTCs are still routinely used for the majority of first appointments but some HEIs do appear to have moved some research staff onto open-ended contracts – others appear to continue to use FTCs for the vast majority of research staff.
Use of FTCs some examples Institution Researchers on FTCs (HESA figures) 10-11 09-10 Total (10-11) Sheffield 90.7% 90.6% (1010) Liverpool 87.6% 85.2% (690) Manchester 86.4% 87.1% (1925) Lancaster 85.1% 85.3% (285) Leeds 79.9% 77.9% (965) Cambridge 62.8% 73.8% (3020) Bristol 44.4% 42.4% (1085) Glasgow 15.2% 11.8% (895) UCL 2.6% 2.3% (2395) Aberdeen 2.1% 59.2% (610)
Moving away from FTCS We also know that behind those figures are some very different realities: Some institutions continue to use FTCs for the vast majority of their research Some have moved most staff to open ended contracts Some employers do little to find alternative employment at the end of the FTC or fixed-term funding whilst others do actively engage in seeking to avoid a dismissal at the end of a FTC or fixed-term funding period.
Your Rights Statutory rights: FTC Regs, Equal Pay, redundancy payments, statutory maternity provisions Contractual rights: pay, hours of work Negotiated policy: progression, redundancy avoidance schemes, protection of FTC staff, enhanced maternity provisions
Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 Employer cannot treat a fixed-term employee any less favourably than a comparable permanent employee unless such treatment can be objectively justified.
Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 The use of successive fixed-term contracts will be limited to four years, unless the continued use of a fixed-term contract is justified on objective grounds.
Objective Justification UCU has always held that fixed-term funding should not be used as a ‘blanket’ objective justification for keeping staff - especially researchers - on fixed-term contracts. Our position has now been vindicated in the case of Ball v Aberdeen University.
BallvAberdeen • Dr Andrew Ball offered a 4th ftc • Sought confirmation that he had been made permanent • University: no guarantee of further funding, used as objective justification • Tribunal said that short-term funding could not automatically provide justification to use a further ftc. Dr Ball made permanent
Consultation • Lancaster University v UCU (EAT). UCU won. University failed to consult over potential FTC staff redundancies (with the aim of avoiding the dismissals) • Stirling won an appeal (02/12) against UCU on the issue of the legal obligation to consult UCU in collective redundancy situations relating to FTC staff • UCU believes that the Stirling decision is inconsistent with previous decisions and are seeking leave to appeal.
Improved Security? The legal rights of fixed-term and open-ended staff are the same in relation to dismissal: Dismissals must be for a ‘fair’ reason There can be no unfair selection for redundancy There should be consultation about dismissals (collective and / or individual) The employer is under a duty to seek ways of avoiding redundancies After 2 years’ service there is the right to redundancy pay
Improved Security? Improving security of employment means more than securing permanency or an open-ended contract. It means: Staff being treated as an integral part of the University community – a cultural change Ensuring that resources are managed in such a way to avoid redundancy situations Breaking the employment link between individual research projects and individual researchers Having effectivesystems in place to redeploystaff as and when necessary
Negotiating policy 1. Establishing FTC policy along UCU guidelines 2. Once policy agreed, implementation at all levels i.e. HR; line manager or PI is vital 3. Publicity, transparency and good communication at the local/departmental level is very important
Responses toshort-term funding Centrally structured and managed communication between PIs working in similar fields about forthcoming projects and grant applications can support forward planning and clarity about available options
Responses • Researchers work across a number of projects within centres and clusters. Can support retention and development of research capacity • Performance related issues should be managed according to relevant policies • Better monitoring, record-keeping and communication
Responses • Putting in place mechanisms to maintain employment where a researcher’s work is likely to continue eg bridging funds • Proper, fair and consistent redundancy processes • Active redeployment policy – up to a year before funding ends. Requires good communication, planning, joining together recruitment procedures with at risk staff
Research Excellence Framework • Research environment – how supportive, especially early career researchers • Many excluded from REF but under it must support researchers who work on projects • UCU believes that to demonstrate a good research environment departments should show evidence of improving security of research only staff for example support for research staff moving between projects and evidence of support for research careers.
How do we create sustainableresearch careers? • Are research careers really that different from others? Only a stepping-stone? • How do we increase job security and create clear career paths? • What are the opportunities to achieve this? National role profiles, REF, Concordat, full economic costing, CROS, Researchers’ Charter. How can we use them? • UKRSA working with UCU
What Can You Do? • Join UCU ( www.ucu.org.uk/join ) • Encourage colleagues to join • Your rights: Researchers’ Survival Guide www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=3228 • UCU Researchers’ Network www.ucu.org.uk/elists • Help your branch – you can do as much or as little as you are able