TEU: Casual jobs mean lower pay, less securityPublish By Thomas Whittle Updated 23/02/2012 2:06 pm in Opinion / no comments
Brett Alcock says his previous job at a privately owned tertiary institution was a string of short-term contracts.
“Many teachers, including myself when I was there, have their contracts rolled over. But the fact that they are not on permanent contracts creates a pervasive sense of insecurity as the contract renewal is often, as was my case after 10 years, used to ‘bump’ people out of jobs with minimal notice. When this happened to me I was immediately excluded from my computer files and from the campus.”
Mr Alcock now has a permanent job at Massey University but many of his colleagues there are on short-term contracts.
In response to last week’s story on the rise of short-term contract work in Australia a range of tertiary education workers contacted Tertiary Update about the situation in New Zealand, most of whom who wanted to remain anonymous. One former senior tutor had a full-time contract come to an end and then spent the next 18 months working part-time as a casual tutor. She was being contracted paper by paper, teaching the same number of papers at the same university she had previously worked for, but for about a third of the pay and, with no guarantee of on-going employment.
Another told us, in her team of six tutors and senior tutors, there is only a permanent contract for one paper for two teaching semesters; the equivalent of 0.3 FTEs. Currently she is still waiting on two temporary contracts for this semester and will be teaching across three different departments with no hours allocated to become familiar with the course material. Over the last summer, she marked assignments for a paper in yet another department.
TEU national president Sandra Grey says there is increasing evidence that tertiary institutions are excessive in their use of casual labour.
“It’s not only bad for employees, it’s bad for a stable learning environment where staff can plan and develop their courses, keep up-to-date with research, and invest time in the pastoral care of students. There are consequences to the quality of education when employers opt for cheap labour over secure, on-going jobs.”