Guaranteed Hours Contracts

This page used to host a template letter, written by GH tutors, but has been temporarily unpublished due to University management requests. If you are a GH tutor at the University of Edinburgh, and would like to know how other tutors explain their working conditions to students, please get in touch with the organisers of the UCU PG & PD Network and/or attend their next meeting at 15.00 – 16.00, Wednesday 24 October at the Union Offices.


Tutors and Demonstrators draft policy

The University of Edinburgh is currently reviewing its Code of Practice for Tutors and Demonstrators, for which UCU has been represented on

the university task group (for info see:

After several meetings there is now a draft policy out for consultation:

UCU postgraduate and postdoctoral reps and contacts have already been contacted to send in their views on the code, but other members (especially those in tutoring and demonstrating roles) are also invited to comment on the draft policy.

The university have highlighted specific areas that they would like feedback on:

  1. whether the document includes all necessary information and guidance;
  2. whether any key information or guidance is missing from the document;
  3. if relevant, how this document will relate to any School, subject-level or course-level documents that you provide your Tutors and Demonstrators.

The university is especially interested to hear your views on these issues:

  1. whether the University should limit the number of hours all full-time postgraduate tutors and demonstrators should work, and if so, what
    the limit should be (see Section 2.8)
  2. whether Schools should provide all tutors/demonstrators with access to a mentor (see Section 6.2);3.      whether the University should specify the knowledge/skills/training/support required for postgraduate students who are acting as tutors and
    demonstrators at certain levels (e.g. PGT level (See section 5)).

Please send any comments you may have to before 10th March.

Guidance on Working to Contract

Brief guidance on Working to Contract issues.  This is taken from item 24 on the FAQ page:

What should I tell my employer if they ask if I am participating in action relating to working to contract and to the maximum 37-hour week?

You should wait until you are asked by your manager or a person in authority whether you are participating in ‘action short of a strike’ and then answer as follows:

 Dear [Name],

As you will be aware, following a recent ballot, UCU is calling on its members to take continuous action short of strike from 27 May 2016. This is to take the form of working to contract. I am writing to inform you that I shall be working the hours stipulated in my contract and no more. Where my contract is silent on the hours I am expected to work, I will work no more than a total of 35 hours per week, or my pro rata equivalent to take account of my personal circumstances and the length of the normal working week in question. In addition, I will perform no additional voluntary duties, such as out of hours cover, or covering for colleagues, unless this is a contractual requirement, nor will I set and mark work beyond that which I am contractually obliged to set and/or mark, nor will I attend meetings where attendance is voluntary. I will not undertake duties that breach the University’s health and safety and I will work strictly in accordance with the university’s policies or procedures having contractual force.

As I will therefore complete my contractual duties on a weekly basis and in any one week I will not expect the University to make any deductions from my salary save in respect of any strike action which I might take. I will raise a formal grievance if I am deducted pay whilst I am working in accordance with my contract.

Anti-Casulaisation Lunch, 16th May

UCU Edinburgh are organising an ‘anti-casualisation lunch’ on Monday 16th May, 1-2pm in the UCU offices (12 Buccleuch street), to bring staff together to discuss the use of hourly-paid, fixed-term, and other casualised forms of contract at the university. In addition to a sandwich lunch, with tea and coffee, we will have John Slaven from STUC (Scottish Trades Union Congress) visiting to talk about their anti-casualisation campaign Better than zero (, and tutors from Humanities and Social Science will be there to update members on their campaigning for better conditions (see their petition here: Everyone is welcome, casualised or not. Non-members are also welcome, so please invite colleagues who are not (yet?) members. If possible we would appreciate if you could RSVP by emailing, so we have an idea of how many sandwiches to order.