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Colleagues Abroad: Part-time Lecturers in the UK Speak Out—”I don’t make enough for rent”

Steve Hanson, 44, part-time lecturer in political sociology

I have a doctorate from a great university; I’ve worked on government research projects, and have more published work than many tenured staff. I have been hourly-paid for about five years now, but HR departments have been alert enough to knock me out of the system before I could rack up four years and become semi-permanent.

I’ve been working for three places at once for most of those years. You have three HR systems and three intranets and three security systems, each with their glitches and perversities.

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“We are seasonal labourers, like fruit pickers. You have to email every September, cap in hand, saying: ‘Is there any work for me this year?’ Universities are giving their hourly-paid people less hours, therefore paying them less.”–Steve Hanson

The negotiation of all that stuff – just getting paid is far from automatic – stacks up to something like a management role. But of course this is without the security or the reward or pay being put in automatically. It’s often like trying to play Tetris very fast, and then you look at what you’re doing all this for and it’s three hours one week, seven

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