Upgrade Grade 6 Teaching Fellows on administrative contracts to Grade 7 academics

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In May 2018, the University of Leicester agreed to appoint several Teaching Fellows in response to a severe staff shortage in its School of Business. The job advert for these positions specifically required a PhD as one of the essential qualifications. 

According to the national agreement between the University and College Union (UCU) and all U.K. Universities signed in 2006 after years of negotiations, if you ask for a PhD as an essential qualification, you need to appoint employees on Grade 7 or above. The University appointed eight Teaching Fellows at Grade 6.

These Teaching Fellows were appointed on an administrative contract, not an academic one, which means they were not allowed to receive the early career discount. The University's own Workload Balance Model specifies that any academic appointed on a permanent contract is entitled to an early career discount of 30% in the first year, 20% in the second, and 10% in the third, "to establish their research and teaching careers" (UoL Workload Balance Model).

This early career discount is designed for recent PhDs such as our Teaching Fellows. However, their appointment on administrative contracts means that we have early career colleagues in our School working on full tariff, with no support for personal development or career advancement prospects.

We have been asking the University to upgrade these eight Grade 6 Teaching Fellows to Grade 7 academic contract. Their response has been that since there is no promotion route from Grade 6 admin to Grade 7 academics, this cannot be done. In other words, they are happy to break the national agreement, but are hiding behind their own internal rule to deny these Teaching Fellows what they deserve. The Teaching Fellows themselves have been told by their Division Head that there is no chance of promotion.

It will only cost the University at most £3,000 per person to promote them to Grade 7. We urge the University to do the right thing, honour the agreement with the UCU, and bring all eight Teaching Fellows' contract in line with their peers, to Grade 7 academic positions without having to reapply for their jobs.

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