The Working Conditions of Tutors are the Learning Conditions for Students
Undergraduate students at the University of Edinburgh may be unaware that a significant percentage of their tutors are employed on Guaranteed Hours contracts (GH contracts).
There are many issues with the approach adopted by many prestigious universities to the employment of post-graduate and other tutors on GH contracts.
The working conditions of staff are the learning conditions for students and we think that it is unacceptable for universities who market themselves to students on their reputation for high quality provision to employ large numbers of their staff on contracts that prevent them doing their jobs as effectively as possible.
The trade union representing academic and related staff, the University and College Union (UCU), are taking these issues up with the University of Edinburgh management.
However, we ask undergraduate students to be aware that we believe the current arrangements mean that there are too many insecure contracts which disrupt educational relationships, stifle the development of teaching staff and often put them under unbearable pressure to cut corners by employing them on poor hourly rates that fail to cover the work they really do.
If your tutor says that she or he has insufficient time to meet your needs, there is a good reason for it. We are clear that current arrangements mean that tutors are not always paid fully for:
- All hours spent preparing for teaching (reading assigned texts, setting questions, identifying secondary readings, marking handouts, presentations, etc.)
- All hours spent marking essays
- Evaluating participation in tutorials
- Professional development
Your tutors do their best to read your work thoroughly, provide you with detailed feedback and offer assistance outside of tutorials but please be aware that the current GH contract arrangements mean that this is not always possible.
We ask you to understand why your tutor may not be able to meet your wishes.
In 2018, the UCU will be reviewing the situation regarding GH contracts. We want a situation where tutors are paid properly for what they do and are treated fairly. Updates on developments will be posted but in the meantime, we hope for your support.
University and College Union