25 March 2008

There's Mutual Obligation, after all...

NMRBoy alerted me to this curious story today, presumably having read about it over at Bullied Academics. It seems that one Kaye Carl, an hourly-paid lecturer at the University of Sheffield, has won a legal fight to be recognised as an employee by her University. Apparently her contract had stated that she was no an employee, but on looking at the reality of her situation, an employment tribunal had recognised that she most definitely was an employee.

Whether she'll get anywhere with the substantive part of her case -- she claims that she was treated less favourably than regular employees -- is a different matter, but I'm delighted that she's managed to at least win herself a beachhead.

Ms Carl's victory should certainly have ramifications, as anomalous positions like Ms Carl's are far from rare in academia. It's interesting that a spokesperson for Sheffield University has now claimed that Sheffield is 'currently leading the way on the regularisation process of atypical workers'. Yes, 'atypical workers' are almost par for the course in Britain's ivory towers, many of them having signed letters saying that they're not employees.

Bosh, of course, signing a letter saying you're not an employee no more means that you're not an employee any more than signing one saying you're a fish means that you're a fish!

I could say a lot more about this, but at the moment I think prudence calls for me to wait a while. Just for a while...

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