Zero-hour contracts do not guarantee employees any amount of workLouis Ashworth

The Students’ Union (SU) is recruiting a new team of receptionists all under zero-hour contracts, despite campaigning against what they call “precarious contracts”.

The receptionists would be paid £10 an hour, and have to be available to work weekends and evenings.

Zero-hour contracts do not guarantee employees any specific amount of work. They have been criticised for creating precarious lifestyles, and being detrimental to individual well being.

The recruitment drive comes after the SU said it supported the UCU strikes of 2021 in their campaign for “a framework to eliminate the use of precarious contracts” such as zero-hours employment.

This also follows the SU writing in support of the Justice for Workers campaign, that “respecting the dignity of all those who work at the University of Cambridge involves fair pay, fair working conditions and fair representation”.

Postgraduate president Anjum Nahar defended the contracts saying: “The reception roles at Cambridge SU are designed with students in mind, providing them with an opportunity to earn alongside their studies.


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“Feedback from our current student-receptionist staff has suggested that the flexibility of the current contract helps to accommodate learning commitments, particularly during this busy period of exams, deadlines and placements.

“All other SU staff are offered permanent or fixed-term contracts, in line with the UCU’s demands. We will continue to support Cambridge UCU in their campaigns to improve working conditions for University and College staff.”

Currently no University of Cambridge students work as receptionists for the SU.