New permanent contracts for 4,800 Open University tutors in landmark deal

The Open University (OU) deal is the biggest decasualisation programme to take place in the higher education sector

The new contracts followed extensive negotiations between the University and the University and College Union (UCU).

Introduced on 1 August 2022, staff now have enhanced job security and a pay increase of between 10-15%. This includes additional annual leave and staff development allowances.

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.

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.”

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.

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

Open University associate lecturers are academics employed solely to teach and are not contracted within that employment to carry out research work. Almost a third (32.4%) of academics in the UK are employed as teaching only staff, and tens of thousands are on fixed term contracts.


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