ucu: keeping staff safe

On 18th October, it was brought to our attention that an Associate Lecturer at ARU (and member of UCU) who had been conducting face to face teaching had caught Covid. The Branch swiftly responded by writing to our Vice Chancellor expressing the following concerns.

Management of outbreaks:

We are concerned that, further to the reporting of infection, the advice presented to staff is they should carry on, “business as usual”, and that students should be told that the risk of having been infected is low, because
of 2m social distancing and as our colleague wore a visor when they last met.

No one knows how our colleague came to be infected and who it was who transmitted the virus to them. Surely, the University should seek to isolate all members of our community who have come into contact with our colleague, then isolate and test at the soonest possible moment.

Associate lecturers and Covid:

We are concerned that Associate Lecturers and people on precarious contracts feel less secure and confident in resisting the pressure to deliver face to face teaching and consequently it is such staff who are left most at risk. Furthermore, we are of the view that anyone on an Associate Lecturer contract should enjoy the same sickness benefits and protection from detriment enjoyed by their colleagues on permanent contracts. Indeed, it is a legal requirement under the provisions of the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000.

The letter can be read in full here. If you are concerned about any aspect of the above, please contact our Branch Chair, John Hogan.

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