Many postgraduate students and early career academics experience precarious and insecure conditions in their teaching and research work.

QMUCU want to change that. We have tried for many years to make progress on this.

Below are our Proposed Terms of Reference for a Anti-Casualisation Working Group which we propose should form a sub committee of the Joint Consultative Form in order to negotiate a new way of working at Queen Mary so all staff are valued. The TofR are based on an already existing working group at SOAS. If you want to get involved then contact us via This proposal is not the final version. We are waiting to hear back from the new Director of Human Resources and will keep you updated of any changes management wish to make.

Proposed Terms of Reference: 

Anti-Casualisation JCF Working Group


To replace fixed term contracts with secure, permanent job opportunities where applicable, improve working conditions for staff on fixed term contracts, and produce career development opportunities by creating pathways to permanent employment.

Objectives and Activities: 

To review:

  • the use of fixed term contracts for teaching and research staff to include, but is not limited to, reviewing the 2016 Assimilation Agreement for Demonstrators, Teaching Associates and Teaching Fellows (including their pay scales).
  • in reference to above to review the pay grade and scale currently allocated to fixed term teaching and research staff and their status as ‘academic’ staff.
  • the range of different job titles given to fixed term teaching and research staff, the processes by which Human Resources collects data on the employment of staff on fixed term contracts, and the way Human Resources issue contracts for these staff across the university.
  • the current policies outlining the use of fixed term contracts for teaching and research staff, including the efficacy of redeployment,  and appeals in relation to permanence claims and the renewal or ending of fixed term contracts.  
  • the processes monitoring and managing how work is advertised and allocated to fixed term teaching and research staff.
  • the use of PhD funding conditional on teaching, which implies that work which would normally be paid is not paid to the PGRs who sign up to the studentships in question (which have been discouraged by UKRI).
  • and investigate situations where unpaid teaching by Post Graduate Researchers is encouraged in some parts of the university.
  • and the different use of Teaching Fellow and Teaching & Scholarship contracts in Law and School of Languages and Linguistics and Film.
  • practices surrounding employment of Post Doctoral Researchers and other fixed term research staff to ensure terms and conditions reflect the new Research Concordat guidelines.
  • policies related to ensure staff on migrant visas are offered sufficient support to comply with Government guidelines related to Visa Regulations (e.g.Tier 2/4)

To establish:

  • improved policies to ensure equitable access to, allocation and management of contracts for fixed term teaching and research staff, including doctoral researchers, who may be offered work as part of their doctoral training and career development.[1] [2] 
  • clear career pathways to permanence that offer career development, training, support and other mechanisms for recognition, reward and career progression for staff on teaching and research contracts in coordination with the Academic Promotions Career Pathway review, with a particular focus on career development, career pathways, inclusion and agency, building on the work done to date on putting in place the Assimilation Agreement.
  • in reference to the above, to establish grade and spinal point integration to enable mobility and career progression.
  • clear policies of support to ensure staff can align with government visa regulations.


  • a consultative panel of staff on all the forms of fixed term contract used by Queen Mary to include but not necessarily limited to: a Teaching Associate on a fixed term contract, a Teaching Associate on a permanent fractional contract, a Teaching Fellow on a fixed term contract, a Teaching Fellow on a permanent fractional contract, a lecturer on a fixed term contract (Teaching &Scholarship), a Postdoctoral Research Associate on a fixed term contract, a PhD student teaching without payment (e.g. as a result of the conditions of their PhD stipend).
  • Branch Secretary
  • Anti-Casualisation Rep x 2
  • Migrant/Tier 4 Rep
  • PGR Rep
  • Equalities Rep (LGBTQ/Disability)
  • Anti Racism Working Group Rep
  • UCU Regional Office Rep
  • at least one senior representative from HR
  • A management representative from Research and Innovation
  • A management representative from Student Experience: Teaching and Learning

Outputs and Timeframe:

  • An updated UCU-QMUL Fixed Term Contracts Agreement for fixed term teaching and research staff, integration of fixed term staff with permanent posts via a Queen Mary Academic Careers Framework, and other policies to be determined in order to produce a clear set of targets to improve conditions for those on fixed term contracts and introducing pathways to permanence in the short, medium and longer-term, in the context of the ongoing pandemic and ensuring no detriment. 
  • To work as a task and finish group to an end of December deadline, to be able to introduce agreed changes before the end of the academic year. 

FREE membership of UCU is available to PhD students , although do make sure you join in the right category to ensure you are able to access all the benefits of UCU membership. Joining gives you access to training and support, and you can take action with colleagues on issues that matter to you.

QMUCU has a number of active campaigns, including around Demonstrators, Teaching Associates and Associate Lecturers. For more information or to get involved, contact the Anti-Casualisation Reps.

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Please also come to our anti-casualisation caucus teach-out on Tuesday 17 March:

2020 Anti-Cas Flyer Ver2 Image 1

Resources for Demonstrators and Teaching Associates