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Open University implements landmark decasualisation deal for tutors

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The Open University (OU) has implemented new permanent contracts for over 4,800 Associate Lecturers, in the biggest decasualisation programme to take place in the higher education sector.

As a result of the new contracts which were introduced on 1 August 2022, staff are now benefitting from enhanced job security and a pay uplift of between 10-15% which includes additional annual leave and staff development allowances.

The new contract for the OU’s tutors followed extensive negotiations between the University and the University and College Union (UCU).

Professor Josie Fraser, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at The Open University, said:

“I began my career as an Associate Lecturer, so I know how hard our tutors work to provide an outstanding education for our students. We deeply value their contribution and the difference they make to people’s lives. Their new contracts demonstrate our commitment to providing them with the professional terms, conditions and working arrangements they deserve.

“It’s been an incredibly complex and challenging process and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the colleagues who have made this possible, both at the University and at UCU.”

Jo Grady, UCU general secretary, said:

“The new contract is life changing for the 4,800 associate lectures who have been moved onto secure contracts that mean they no longer have to re-apply for their jobs every year.

“UCU is immensely proud of reaching this agreement, with The Open University, after many years of hard work and while we recognise there is still more to do, we are celebrating this huge step forward in ending casualisation at the OU.

“UCU will continue working on behalf of our members at OU ensure all staff have fair terms and conditions and fair pay.  We value the positive way in which these negotiations have been handled and the contracts implemented.

‘The OU’s decasualisation deal is the largest ever within the sector. UCU will continue working on behalf of our members in order to try and reach similar agreements with other universities.

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