What is a ‘Casualised Contract’?

When we talk about staff on casualised contracts we mean all those staff working on some form of insecure contract. These take many forms and often mean that staff engaged on them have fewer rights at work than their permanent, salaried colleagues.

For example staff on casualised contracts (SOCCs) may be on:

  • fixed-term contracts
  • hourly paid contracts
  • agency contracts
  • variable hours contracts
  • open-ended contracts but with an associated ‘at risk’ date (for example when external funding expires)
  • bogus or imposed ‘self-employed’ contracts
  • zero hours contracts
  • ‘bank contracts’

There may be other terms and types of casualised contracts in use but what unites them all is the lack of security for staff working on them. Casualisation is both an industrial issue and an equality issue: the effects of precarity intersect and impact upon the everyday lives and wellbeing of staff who are engaged on casualised contracts.

We campaign for secure contracts for all staff.

Rights at Work

Rights at Work often differ depending on what sort of contract you are employed on. Those classed as employees will have the most rights – those as ‘self-employed’, the least.

Some basic rights are set out in our ‘Know Your Rights’ Cards which can be seen here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/r/9/know_your_rights_card.pdf These are also available to order so if you think these would be useful for your colleagues please do so.

Our Hourly Paid Survival Guide also sets out your rights across a variety of issues: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/k/i/Survival_guide_HP_staff_2012.pdf as does our UCU support centre: https://ucu.custhelp.com/

UCU Fighting Casualisation

UCU has been fighting casualisation for many years. Although we have not managed to stop the creep of casualisation into our universities and colleges (a pattern that has been mirrored across the economy) we have won significant victories for our members both individually and collectively: We have a national agreement in FE in England that recommends against the use of zero hours contracts (important even though its ignored by many individual colleges), we influenced the part-time workers, fixed-term employees and agency regulations to improve their effectiveness for our members, we have successfully negotiated dozens of part-time and hourly paid agreements that have secured fractionalisation, holiday pay and decent rates of pay for our members and we have won individual cases for members winning them rights to permanent contracts or equal treatment.

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