Advertisement taken down from University of Birmingham website after UCU intervention

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The UCU has called on universities to pay researchers properly for their work after the University of Birmingham advertised for a “volunteer” researcher to work for free two days a week.

The advertisement, which has now been taken down from the university’s website, was for an ‘honorary research assistant’ in the school of psychology. Applicants had to have their own car.

The UCU says research posts should be paid and the rate of pay should be determined through a process of job matching and evaluation, adding that not paying researchers undermines the principles of equal pay and is discriminatory.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Unpaid internships have caused concern about access to the professions, especially where there is an over supply of graduates and a under supply of paid employment opportunities. Clearly not everyone can afford to work for nothing and universities need to recognise the importance of people being paid properly for their work.

“Failing to pay researchers undermines the principles of equal pay and is clearly discriminatory. Universities need to follow a clear evaluation process that ensures all jobs are properly remunerated for the work required.”

The union has produced a guide to internships with the National Union of Students that can be found here.

 


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