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Lecturer Wins Compensation and Spells Change for Millions of Part time Workers

A lecturer has been awarded a compensation payment of £25,000 in a landmark employment tribunal which could have immense implications for millions of employees on part ““ time contracts.

A University lecturer, Susan Birch, – who was employed on a part-time basis but taught more hours than her full-time colleagues for a lower level of remuneration – has been awarded £25,000 in compensation. This award is a record amount, and seems set to prove a landmark case for millions of workers employed in a number of sectors under similar conditions such as in education, building, catering and hospitality.

A Breakthrough for Employment Rights

The award marks the end of a drawn out dispute in which Susan has been staunchly supported by the University and College Lecturers” Union, NATFHE. The settlement is a breakthrough in efforts to win fair treatment for the hourly paid lecturers across both higher and further education. It successfully concludes a three year case against her employers, Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU) after which the university agreed to an unprecedented settlement just before the case was due to go to a final hearing.

Susan is due to be transferred to a full ““ time permanent contract after having worked at LMU for seven years as a lecturer in the teaching of English as a foreign language and as a teacher trainer, often working longer hours than her full – time colleagues. This often amounted to a deficit of up to £10,000 per year. She was also unable to take advantage of the same opportunities for career development. She is the first hourly paid UK teaching professional to take advantage of a new set of directives, Time Workers (Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000.

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Strength Through an Ordeal

Speaking after the announcement, Susan Birch was understandably pleased and proud of her fortitude. She said: “I sought a fair deal after reading about new laws to protect part-time employees. My employers seemed sympathetic but said the university simply could not afford fractional contracts. Most colleagues were sympathetic, though the phrase “part-time” still conjures up “pin-money” in the minds of some grey-suited men of a certain age.

“It has been three years of immense pressure,” she continued, “but I simply could not accept such a patently unfair situation. Litigation is not for the faint-hearted or those acting alone, but I had the support of my union NATFHE, for which I am immensely grateful. The money will pay off debts but I hope this result will help the thousands of part-time staff in education who suffer similar discrimination. Now I just want to get on with my life and my career.”

Jethro Marsh

Read NATFHE and the TUC’s responses to the announcement right here at FE News!

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