NUS is delighted to have, once again, worked in partnership with the University and College Union (UCU) to create a new Postgraduate Employment Charter. The charter, which was launched at NUS National Conference, provides ten points of good practice for universities to follow when employing postgraduates to teach.
The new charter follows the considerable work and campaigning by NUS and UCU over the past two years to highlight the unfairness and inadequacy of employment practices relating to postgraduate students. Last year, NUS published a comprehensive report on the pay and conditions of postgraduate teachers across the UK, evidenced by a national survey of over 1500 postgraduate teachers. The report revealed huge issues resulting from the informalisation and casualisation of postgraduate employment at universities. It also highlighted a sudden increase in the number of unpaid postgraduate teachers and those forces to teach in order to receive fee waivers and bursaries.
This resource will be used as part of a new campaign to promote positive change in employment practices in universities. NUS will be working closely with UCU, students' unions and postgraduates to get institutions to use the charter to improve their practices. Over the next six months, NUS will be running a set of events which will highlight each of the ten points of good practice in the charter. Part of this will also be to encourage more postgraduates to join a trade union in order to increase the collective bargaining power of postgraduates and to protect them against mistreatment and illegal practices.
We have already had a positive response from several universities, who have understood the great benefits in teaching quality and student experience gained from treating postgraduate employees fairly and offering them the support and development that they need. With the help of students' unions around the country, we can help improve the lives of many more postgraduates and make sure they get the respect and recognition that they deserve.
You can view and download the new Postgraduate Employment Charter here.
Download our 2013 report on postgraduate teaching here.
Find out more about UCU, the trade union for university and college staff at www.ucu.org.uk.
Keep an eye out for further updates and resources. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.