The Learning Curve

The Learning Curve

University Lecturers are currently on a strike programme in an effort to push forward, their claims for better pay and conditions…

This is the same old reason, why many other trades union members go on strike against their employers, especially during the past 10 years period of austerity, of dwindling wages, and of reducing employment rights.

Leaked information from The Russell Group Universities, an affiliation of ‘elite university employers,’ founded in 1994, has said that they are fearful of the scandal involved, due to the insecure employment contracts, of thousands of lecturers employed by the Universities.

Russell Group, who represent top-tier higher education facilities including Oxford, Cambridge, Newcastle, Kings College, Durham and Imperial College, fear that their reputation will suffer, because of the University and College Union, (U.C.U) strike.

University bosses are concerned, that the casual status of staff contracts, will lead to them sustaining damage to their reputation, should their exploitation of Lecturers, by issuing them with insecure contracts, become more widely known. The bosses are also aware, that when they issue such contracts, this also affects the physical and mental health of staff, and subsequently, students.

More than 60,000 university lecturers are employed on insecure contracts, which also means that at the end of one academic year they do not know, if they will have a job to return to, in the following year. Quite a lot of these lecturers, are not paid during half- term and full-term breaks.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency reveals that Russell Group Universities employed more staff on insecure contracts than other institutions. The U.C.U. is involved in a current campaign of 14 days of strike action. U.C.U general secretary said that this secret report shows that some universities do understand the extent of casualisation in our institutions, and the serious damage that it does to the health of staff and students’ alike.


It is a sad fact of life that people, given half the chance, will exploit any situation to their advantage. It would appear that University Employers are no different to any other employer throughout the land.

These dedicated employees are no different to any other people who are holding down employment, under current Employer and Governmental constraints. Especially, after such a long period of time without any real increases in salary.

It is more exasperating however, when the likes of MPs, over the same period of time, have awarded themselves an 11% pay rise each and every year in question, and no cap has ever been applied to business bosses’ salary levels, over the same period.

Russell Group Universities are concerned that their elitist image will wane if the lecturers strike carries on longer, because, more people will become aware that the Group are overseeing employment, and therefore exploiting lecturing staff, on insecure employment contracts, reduced salary levels with incorporated gender differentials, and anomalies to staff retirement pension schemes .

The great incongruity of this situation is the intrinsic pomposity of employers such as those in the Russell Group, who purport to be, and no doubt are, the crème de la crème of University owners and employers. Yet here they are, ‘penny pinching’ from lecturing staff, whilst expecting from them ‘gold standards’ in output..
Their very own skeleton, in their very own cupboard! A simple case of expecting to live ‘Champagne’ lifestyles, on ‘Lemonade’ money!

That is wrong in so many ways. Each student pays at least £9,000 per annum in course fees.. After this, the University Administration then sets about paying as little as it possibly can to employ Lecturers to teach these £9,000 providers with an education.

In 2015- 2016, the 24 Universities under Russell Groups umbrella, had a throughput of 417,000 Under-Graduates, and 192,000 Post-Graduates.

In 2016 – 2017, staff casual contracts covered a massive 56% of all staff employed. Turnover for the group, was £16.67 billion.

Sadly, it looks as though it is fear of damage to reputation, rather than concern for staff or students, that has prompted universities to respond to the casual contract status.

Politicians and others are also starting to express concerns about the casual classification of contracts of university teaching, and research staff.

It is wrong to expect lecturing staff to turn out brilliant minds of the future for this country, whilst paying them less than they deserve. Especially when, the Teaching faculty, and not the individual lecturers, receive the honour for so doing.
Remembering also, that with this honour, comes the reputation of excellence for the institution.

The University therefore receives the benefit in future esteem and revenue, whilst the people who turn out these graduates, are left to pick up the scraps from the table, whilst staying loyal to their duty, and their university.
…It’s wrong!.. In anyone’s language it is so wrong…

These dedicated people are turning out Britain’s hope for the future. The advancement of our future technology and manufacturing industries, our future lecturers, our future financial stability, our future doctors and nurses and the future well-being of the people of this country, and its ranking in the world order.

Those who teach the rest of us should be paid properly for the excellent work they do, – without them, our nation would stagnate and decline. Therefore, they need to be respected for the job they do, and they need to be paid as everyone expects them to be paid…Correctly!.

Remembering also, that the current Government, is as culpable as the Universities in this issue, – they fund the Universities and decide on policy.

Doing it correctly means that organisations such as the Russell Groups Universities, would not have the need to worry about being found wanting in their tactics of ‘penny pinching,’ Remember, – If one pays Peanuts – One gets Monkeys.


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