A report has been filed by the University and College Union expressing anger at the ‘dehumanising effects of casualisation in higher education’, which causes ‘significant negative effects on staff income, wellbeing, and their ability to do their jobs’.
The UCU report talks of the casualisation of academic staff which results in four main problems: invisibility, vulnerability, lack of agency, and inability to project into the future.
UCU Vice President Vicky Blake begins the report with a message stating that, ‘casualised workers are stressed, exploited, underpaid, and often pushed to the brink by senior management teams relying on goodwill and a culture of fear.’
The report continues to say that a number of participants in the study, ‘stated they feel invisible and forgotten. They are vulnerable as they feel their line manager tells them to perform a task that they can’t object to as that would hinder future successes and moving on progressively.’
It also says that, ‘they frequently experienced the curtailment of freedom, the denial of agency, and the absence of trust’. The report includes individuals’ accounts where they were either unable to refuse to teach modules that they had no knowledge in, had a lack of choice over location and subject, or faced complete ignorance toward their own research goals by their senior mentors.
The report concludes with recommendations on how to fix this issue in the future. Suggestions include more honesty and care to come from the government, research councils, and the universities themselves.