Fixed term contracts and job security

We thought it would be useful to summarise the key points of the recent debate in these pages and elsewhere about the University’s employment of staff on fixed term contracts.

  • Like most research-intensive universities we do have a relatively high proportion of staff on fixed term funding many of which are, therefore, on fixed-term contracts.
    • This situation is not suddenly any different from that which has pertained for very many years - and is not significantly different at Leeds from that at other research-intensives.
      • It largely accounts for the number of posts listed in Section 188 letters over the last seven months: the number certainly has not been created by the reviews underway - only 17 of the posts are due to reviews and 14 of those have already been resolved.
      • We are legally obliged to tell the unions of fixed term contracts coming to an end but we make big efforts to redeploy - and many (80% of those who would have finished in January 2011 for instance) are redeployed before their contract actually ends. For more details on the numbers please see Steve Scott's recent response to Sally Hunt.
        • Many of those on the lists are there for very straightforward reasons: we do 'employ' many students to help with open days or other casual activities on a seasonal basis and they have to be included in the lists to the unions; when academic staff retire, we frequently re-engage them for short periods on fractional contracts - they also count on the list and, incidentally, their 'start of contract date' remains the one on which they were first appointed which can misleadingly suggest they have been on fixed term contracts all that time.
          • We are committed to working with the all the trades unions on this issue and are treating this as a matter of urgency. Going into dispute and industrial action is not going to help resolve this.

          See Professor Stephen Scott's blog for more information

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