Teaching assistants at UCL’s language and culture departments have accused their employers of poor working conditions and underpayment.
Postgraduate Teaching Assistants (PGTAs) from the School of European Languages, Culture and Society (SELCS) and the Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry (CMII), two of UCL’s main language and culture departments, have started a petition to protest their working conditions.
SELCS focuses on teaching languages and promoting their associated culture to their students. while promoting their cultures; while CMII tries to develop “innovative approaches” in the arts and humanities while being “interdisciplinary, intercultural and international”. They teach courses on translation, gender and sexuality studies and film studies.
However, PGTAs in these departments have alleged that they are often employed casually, without formal contracts and are poorly paid.
Following the PGTAs’ agitation, UCLU conducted an investigation which found that SELCS teaching assistants are the lowest paid workers at UCL, with some who work without any official salary.
The PGTAs claim not only that the SELCS and CMII department are providing them with rough employment conditions, but, in fact, that they are breaching UCL’s Human Resources policy in their treatment of the workers.
They have started a petition demanding more rights as PGTAs and improvements in their working conditions, such as: open advertisement of open PGTA positions, “annual contracts and teaching proformas”, hours of pay related to marking and class preparation, increase in hourly wage, a departmental line manager and “departmental peer observation” with “end-of-year evaluations”.
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