Temporary work at £9 an hour. No wonder lecturers are balloting to strike

Feelings are running high, union warns, with more than half of UK academics on short-term contracts

When Thomas Swann completed his PhD in 2015, he spent three weeks applying for 40 different jobs in academia. He was lucky to secure a dream position at Leicester University’s department of politics and international relations, but the year-long contract meant it wouldn’t be the end of his job hunt. He is currently on his fifth short-term contract, now at Loughborough, and has no idea whether he’ll still be working in six months’ time.

“It makes life frantic because as well as trying to do the best job you can, you’re constantly having to apply for other opportunities,” he says. “That’s a huge amount of time I could be spending on developing teaching or research.”

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