Atypical workers

The ongoing campaign to improve the rights of atypical workers at the University of Leicester.


UCU has now fought for over 7 years to protect the employment rights of atypical staff; the term used in this institution to describe those who have been engaged on casual or fees contracts who are typically Associate Tutors, Demonstrators, Teaching Assistants and Hourly Paid Lecturers.

Discussions broke down and we escalated the matter, along with other issues, to a trade dispute in 2013 with our sister unions. We came out of the dispute on the assurance that the University would negotiate with UCU over the employment rights of atypical staff, in accordance with the framework agreement of 2006.

The University continues to refuse to negotiate with UCU on the matter over important issues such as a comprehensive teaching rate, pension rights and procedures relating to such staff (such as dismissal, grievance); it classes the staff it has transferred to Unitemps as workers, not employees and is only offering to consult/listen to us. It is a great shame they have chosen this route, they made great claims about not using the awful Zero Hours Contract route, which UCU welcomed; but have now instead chosen the even worse route for the individuals, and the Institution by making them Agency workers.

Unitemps was never intended to be the means by which atypical staff would be engaged. It was intended to be the means by which students could be engaged to boost their employability and fill short term University operational needs. Atypical workers can make a claim to be directly employed by the University, instead of Unitemps, and this can be found on the atypical project website .

We will continue to campaign on this issue.

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University and College Union


UCU is the largest trade union and professional association for academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff working in further and higher education throughout the UK.

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