TA Pay – Model Letter – June 2015

Did you know that hourly-paid academic teaching staff at Queen Mary are on the same rate of pay now as they were in 2009? As the cost of living increases, hourly paid Teaching Associates, Visiting Lecturers and Demonstrators have suffered annual losses on the value of their wages since 2009 that now amounts to an excess of 15% loss in real terms (see graph below). This loss percentage increases further if you account for the disproportionately rising costs of London living. As the number of highest-tier staff earning over £100,000 increases in the University, teachers in precarious employment and on the lowest rates of pay are being hit the hardest by stagnating wages.

Hourly-paid teaching staff constitute a third of the higher education sector. At Queen Mary, many have the vital responsibility of preparing and delivering classes on undergraduate core modules. However, case studies from a survey conducted by Queen Mary Against Casualisation and supported by the branch show that hourly-paid teaching staff at Queen Mary are working well beyond reasonable expected hours to deliver teaching, and may not have access to necessary resources, adequate paid training or even job descriptions. As a result of this, hourly rates which are inclusive of preparation and marking have left many staff with a wage that is significantly lower than the HE national average, and in some instances, lower than the London Living Wage in real terms.

We need to act now to counter and reverse wage losses in real terms of hourly-paid teaching staff. These wage losses are not only detrimental to the quality of education offered by Queen Mary, but also to the sustainability and diversity of the college for students and teaching staff at every level. QMUCU have raised this issue with management but they have refused to make up the lost pay and have stalled on negotiations with the branch to properly deal with pay and the working conditions of hourly-paid staff. Because of this QMUCU now asks for your support in campaigning to improve the pay and conditions of hourly-paid teaching staff at Queen Mary, by calling on QMSE to agree to QMUCU’s interim suggestion to implement an immediate increase for all hourly-paid staff to match the annual pay reviews (amounting to a one-off 5% increase and any additional increase based on this year’s pay-round) of permanent colleagues since 2009 while negotiations take place.  This will not repay the lost wages from pay rises that were not paid in the intervening years, or recover losses in the value of wages in real terms, but is an opportunity for Queen Mary to demonstrate their commitment to improving pay and conditions for hourly-paid teaching staff, and to fulfil its claims to be a London Living Wage good employer. Hourly-paid teaching staff at Queen Mary have been exploited for too long. It is now time the college acted to rectify this issue.

QMUCU are also calling on QMSE to commit to assimilating hourly-paid teachers to the 51-point pay scale and implementing the  terms of and conditions of hourly-paid teaching staff in line with the Framework Agreement.

How can you help? Please join us in writing to Queen Mary Principal, Professor Simon Gaskell, the Chief Operating Office, Mike Shore-Nye and all of the members of Council. A model letter (with email contacts) is attached. Simply cut and paste into an email. Members of Council will be forwarded your letter via the email address in the model letter. We also encourage you to circulate this message to your colleagues who may not be members of UCU asking them to support this campaign.

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