Professional issues: What would UCU like to see?

UCU believes that the status of further and higher education staff has been progressively undermined by the spread of casualisation, holding down of salaries, marketisation and an increasing encroachment on professional autonomy.

We would like to see greater recognition of the role of staff, including the need to eliminate the negative gap between the salaries of further education teachers and those who work in the compulsory sector. In higher education, UCU believes that the holding down of salaries for staff since 2010 has led to reducing morale. In both sectors workload is increasing as the expectations of students also rise.

Zero hours contracts are widespread but UCU sees no justification for this casual and uncertain form of employment, especially in education institutions as they diminish both the student experience and the value of academic teaching.

UCU has grave concerns about recent calls to crack down on legitimate union protest and industrial action. Although the most draconian proposals adversely affect public sector workers, UCU feels that the UK already has tough rules around strikes that do not need strengthening further.

Parties have outlined the importance of education in prisons and how they would like to see a greater focus on educating and training offenders as part of the rehabilitation process but we have in the past emphasised how the power of prison educators to help offenders turn their lives around is often squandered due to a lack of funding and constant retendering for teaching contracts.