Make Unfairness History - Sign the petition for a fairer treatment of tutors at the UoE
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Do you think that you can read a 200,000-word long book like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, re-read it, mark it and give it a long and detailed feedback in just 48 hours?
No, right? Then you are in the right place.
Many PhD students at the University of Edinburgh work longer than what they are actually paid for. For instance, to read and mark 2,000-word long essays, students in some schools are only paid for 30 minutes. This means that if it takes 45 minutes or an hour and a half for you to mark an essay, you will still get paid for 30 minutes only. Also, although we lack precise data on this at the moment*, pay rates seem to be inconsistent across different Schools, meaning that some tutors seem to be getting paid less than others for the same task. We therefore ask our new Principal, Peter Mathieson, to introduce university-wide marking rates that are based on the actual time spent marking by tutors as well as the number of words marked (with a proposed minimum pay rate of about 2,500 words per hour).
Also, as previous surveys and petitions (see Link 1 and Link 2) show, many tutors or demonstrators are not getting paid, among other things, to reply to students' (long) e-mails. In very simple terms, we call upon the new Principal to ensure that students get paid for all the work they actually do.
It is crucial for the Principal to take action and to do it now. Indeed, considering that a new working hour cap will be implemented from next September, some students - and especially self-funded ones - will be damaged twice: their financial resources will be cut while they would continue not to be paid for all the work they actually do.
Tutors and demonstrators' working conditions are often overlooked and the impact on their well-being neglected. However, we believe that there is no student satisfaction without staff satisfaction first. Which, in other words, means to guarantee a fairer treatment of all tutors and demonstrators.
Fabio Battaglia, Postgraduate Research Student Representative
* Since we lack precise data on how tutoring works across different schools and colleges, please either before or after signing take some time to fill in this very important questionnaire by UCU https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NQ88BDQ
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