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Casualisation of workers in Higher Education in Britain, Ireland and the U.S.A?

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Martin O Neill
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Joined: 14-03-08
Mar 24 2011 00:09
Casualisation of workers in Higher Education in Britain, Ireland and the U.S.A?

A few weeks ago the Clydeside Branch of the IWW organised a public forum at the Glasgow Uni. Occupation on casualisation. It was mentioned by one post grad student that there is a problem as many post-grads aspire to have full-time contracts or even part-time ones, so will put up with casual, irregular employment. They will get paid £30 for a hours lecture, but not for the several hours of prep work. An American Wob pointed out that post grad casual lecturers in the US had successfully organised against this, but couldn't give specific examples. Does anyone have any knowledge of successful organisation of casual staff in Higher Education in Britain or the US with practices that could be applied elsewhere? I think the post grad student lecturers are called teaching assistants in the US?

I was quite surprised by the extent of this 'atypical' mode of employment in Higher Education. I don't have an electronic version of the stats at the minute, but can get them if anyone is interested. There are more more casually employed academics than academics on part-time contracts, so it is not really an 'atypical' form of employment. Casualisaition is also widespread among non-academic staff, from cleaners to admins. Most academic staff under 40 are on temporary contracts.