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Sussex UCU and University of Sussex joint statement on new Associate Tutors contracts

The University of Sussex and the Sussex branch of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) are proud to have negotiated an agreement that will remove insecure employment contracts and practices for certain groups of academic staff.

Doctoral tutors and academic staff based in the Sussex Centre for Language Studies (SCLS) will now no longer be on zero hours’ contracts. Many will have significant pay rises, enhanced benefits and set hours.

Sussex UCU and the University agreed that the agreement will be implemented in full from 1 January 2017.

The following has been achieved.

  • The new arrangements will eliminate the use of zero hours’ contracts in teaching delivery.
  • The University currently employs Associate Tutors at grades 5, 6 and 7. Under the new arrangements, there will be Doctoral Tutors at grades 5 and 6; and Language Tutors at grade 6. Where work is required to be carried out at grade 7, this will be by individuals employed as Teaching Fellows at grade 7 (or as Teaching Faculty or Research Faculty at grade 7) as appropriate and in accordance with the relevant job description and faculty terms and conditions for these posts.
  • Annual increments for Doctoral Tutors will be available no matter how small their number of hours worked.
  • There will be increased holiday provision and, for the first time, occupational sick pay for Doctoral Tutors.
  • Norms have been developed by clusters of cognate schools for the allocation of preparation, teaching and marking against which Tutors will be contracted to provide for clarity, transparency and consistency within groups of cognate schools. These ‘multipliers’ are significantly better than all pre-92 universities in the South East and for SCLS staff in particular will lead to significant pay rises.
  • A bespoke Language Teacher staff development programme for Language Tutors has been agreed so that they are in a strong position to compete for Teaching Fellow posts at grade 7 when a vacancy arises for such posts in SCLS.

Commenting on the new agreement, the University of Sussex Vice-Chancellor, Adam Tickell, said: "We’re pleased with the outcome of these constructive negotiations with the UCU, which have resulted in us agreeing to end the use of zero-hours contracts for teaching delivery. 

"The new agreement, which will come into force from 1 January 2017, is a great outcome for our Tutors who provide an important role at the University. 

"We want to ensure our staff have an excellent teaching experience at Sussex where they feel appropriately rewarded and recognised for the work they do. During the discussions we made significant improvements to the original proposals around pay, holiday provision and occupational sick pay. 

"We would like to thank the negotiating team from UCU for their part in achieving this outcome." 

The Sussex agreement shows what can be achieved when the University and the UCU work together with a common aim.

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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex and Sussex UCU
Last updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2016