University Response to Covid-19
We are pleased that the University has offered greater assurances of flexibility for staff with caring responsibilities. But we are deeply disappointed that we have not been able to secure any reassurances in our other key areas.
The University has refused to guarantee hourly paid staff that they will be paid for their contracted hours if teaching or marking is cancelled.
The University of Warwick has publicly stated that “The health and wellbeing of our students and colleagues remain our top priority” (UoW 2020, 20th March 2020) and one of their four further stated priorities is “protecting jobs” (Croft 2020). HPTs are among the most precariously employed members of staff – they have no reasonable prospect of finding alternative work and many are not eligible for universal credit. We expect Warwick to join other leading institutions in the sector, including King’s College London, Sheffield, and Exeter, in honouring their commitments to casualised staff.
We are also very concerned that the University has refused to engage with us on questions of intellectual property for on-line learning. We simply don’t understand why Warwick wouldn’t provide basic assurances that the on-line teaching materials provided during this Covid-19 crisis will remain the intellectual property of our members, and will not be used to replace future teaching. Until the University is willing to give us some basic assurances, we recommend that staff be careful with what materials they put online and how they disseminate them.
The University have indicated that they are willing to keep a dialogue open on this issue and so we will continue to try to work with them. We know that our members are committed to ensuring we emerge from this crisis as a stronger and more unified community. Thus we remain hopeful that the University will honour their own commitments. We will keep you updated.
As noted in our previous email, we had written the Vice Chancellor to ask that strike deductions be either spread out or delayed, as they have been at numerous other universities, in recognition of both the huge effort our members are devoting to coping with the challenges posed by Covid-19 and the financial hardships many of our members will be facing. The University has let us know they are considering this request, but have not yet reported back.
On that note, just a reminder that we are still on ASOS and given the University’s unwillingness to work with us thus far, we want to encourage members to take care of yourselves, your physical and mental health, and to not work more than you are paid to do.
Finally, we want to hear from members. If you are affected by the University’s response to Covid-19 and need our help, or if you just want to share your story, our google form remains open and we guarantee your anonymity.