Chief shop stewards say that the new guideline on work plans does not increase the amount of teaching
Tampere University’s chief shop stewards recommend that university lecturers and university instructors ignore the provision in the work plan guideline that makes their jobs more teaching-focused and increases the number of hours related to teaching. The provision that would make all the university lecturer and university teacher jobs teaching-oriented – i.e. teaching making up more than half of the hours in the work plan – is controversial.
The chief shop stewards find that the University has unilaterally changed the employment contracts of employees by issuing the guideline that reads as follows: “For example, according to the University's policy, the tasks of a university teacher and a university lecturer are teaching-focused, which means that the share of teaching tasks exceeds 50% while the other tasks are 49% at the most.“
The chief shop stewards do not know where, when or who has decided on the policy concerning the teaching focus of university lecturers and university teachers. The issue has not been addressed in the co-operation negotiations.
According to the principles that guided the merger of the universities, employees transferred to the employment of the University Foundation as so-called old employees, which means that the terms and conditions of their employment did not change.
Only in some of the employment contracts of university lecturers and university instructors has the focus of the job been defined. In most cases, a focus is not mentioned. Instead, the focuses of the jobs have been determined in the previous work plan practices. In fact, the University employs dozens of university lecturers and university teachers in whose work plans less than half of the hours have been related to teaching.
Chief Shop Steward Sinikka Torkkola conducted a survey to gather information on the tasks of university lecturers and university instructors and the content of their work plan. The survey was answered by 39 university lecturers and 6 university instructors. Of them, 69 percent performed teaching-related tasks for less than half of the hours in the work plan. 15 per cent of the respondents had less than 15 percent of teaching. Half of the respondents had a maximum of 150 hours of contact teaching.
Two thirds of the respondents came from the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences. Of all the respondents, 80 percent did not have a defined focus area in their employment contract. Nearly 80 percent had a regular employment relationship. Even though the survey was conducted on a fast schedule and the sample of respondents was not fully representative, the results indicate that the current situation at the University is not in line with the employer’s policy.
The negotiations between the chief shop stewards and the University will continue next week with the work plan guideline on the agenda. The negotiations will also address policies related to the guideline concerning the hours spent on supervision and teaching preparation. These policies have not been handled in co-operation as they should have been.
The Education Association of Tampere University has estimated that the work plan guideline will significantly reduce the time spent on teaching preparation and the supervision of theses. The aim of the University seems to be to make teachers do more work than is included in the work plans because teachers who are dedicated to their task do not want to compromise the quality of teaching. Thus, they do unpaid overtime. If teachers did not do this, the quality of teaching would deteriorate, and the graduation times would get longer.