Staff at half of UK Unis exploited by zero hour contracts

UCU research sheds light on “unacceptable underbelly” of university employment…

Over half of universities in the UK exploit their members of staff by giving them zero hour contracts.

Research by the University and College Union (UCU) showed that 53% of unis employed staff on contracts that would not guarantee them work but expected them to remain on call.

46% of unis had over 200 members of staff on zero hour contracts, while 5 of them employed over 1,000.

The University of Nottingham refused to reveal if it used zero hour contracts...

The University of Nottingham refused to reveal if it used zero hour contracts…

Edinburgh were the worst offenders, using zero hour contracts for a total of 2,712 staff, while Bath had 1,596. Edinburgh released a statement saying they were “committed to ceasing the use of ‘hours to be notified’ contracts.”

They went on to say that, “the majority of employees presently on ‘hours to be notified’ contracts will have guaranteed hours by the end of this calendar year”.

The 5 worst universities for exploiting staff

1. Edinburgh – 2,712

2. Bath – 1,596

3. Plymouth – 1,167

4. City – 1,125

5. Kingston – 1,069

Both the Universities of Nottingham and Northampton refused to say if they employed staff on zero hour contracts.

Of the 142 universities surveyed, a whopping 181,385 academic staff are employed on these terms, something UCU President, Simon Renton, blasted as “unacceptable”.


Simon Renton slammed the “unacceptable underbelly” of our universities…

He said, “Our findings shine a light on the murky world of casualisation in further and higher education.

“Their widespread use is the unacceptable underbelly of our colleges and universities. Employers cannot hide behind the excuse of flexibility. This flexibility is not a two-way street and, for far too many people, it is simply a case of exploitation.

“Without a guaranteed income, workers on zero-hour contracts are unable to make financial or employment plans on a year-to-year, or even month-to-month basis.”

In August, new research showed that over a million workers in Britain were employed on contracts that would not guarantee them work. They were condemned as an “attack on worker’s rights and dignity.”