Skip to main content

Fair Play For TAs is a UCL-wide campaign to fight for fairer conditions for postgraduate teaching assistants (PGTAs), supported by the UCLU Postgraduate Association.

Our Campaign

Postgraduate teaching assistants at UCL are exploited, underpaid, and overworked. But now we’re fighting back - and winning already. Join us to defend and extend your rights!

Across the 11 faculties of University College London, Postgraduate Teaching Assistants fulfil a variety of vital roles in teaching undergraduate and Masters students. Despite relying on this casual labour for a variety of valuable and complex tasks, the unfair allocation of hours for teaching tasks means that  around a third of all the work carried out by PGTAs is done without any pay at all. Women are paid 22% less than men, when factoring in overtime, under £9 per hour and less than the London living wage. EU students are paid 13% less than British students, and international students 15%. In combination with a low hourly base rate (£12.40), this means that many PGTAs are effectively working for less than the minimum wage. 

We consider this unfair and call on UCL to:

1) Pay us for our hours: PGTAs must be paid for all hours of work inside and outside of contact hours,
including marking, preparation, research, auditing and office hours, as well as our holiday pay
entitlement.

2) Pay us a fair wage: PGTAs currently paid on Grade 5 should be paid on at least Grade 6, with
progression up the pay scale for each year of work. This would mean a rise in wages for most first year
PGTAs from £12.40 to £14.47 per hour, and would cut the gender pay gap by halve.

What can you do?

Firstly, you can sign our petition.

Secondly, you can get organised in your department. Talk to your fellow research students, share stories, organise a meeting and approach your department heads for talks. Bringing the petition around your department is one way to open this conversation up. The Fair Play for TAs campaign can help you do this and offer advice, so ask on the mailing list or contact the Postgraduate Students’ Officer. PGTAs in some departments have already won more money by organising like this!

Have your say

We are a democratic campaign, so get involved to have your say in where we go next. Email the PSO at pso@uclu.org to join the campaign working group.

Join your trade union

UCU is the trade union for academic and academic-related staff, including postgrad TAs – we recommend every postgraduate student to join - and to take part in the branch by coming to meetings where the union’s activities are discussed and decided. The UCU and the Postgrad Association work closely together. When we campaign and negotiate collectively as members of a union, we are stronger, and being members of a trade union also means a higher degree of legal protection for our right to organise. UCU can also provide specialised support for individuals over problems at work. If you are currently working at a PGTA, you should apply for full membership and pay the membership fee in order to obtain full protection. The fee will be small if you are not earning very much. And if you are a postgraduate not currently working as a teaching assistant, you can join for free as a student member! Since many postgrads move in and out of teaching, we all have an interest in defending pay and conditions even at moments when we aren’t working ourselves. So we recommend joining and remaining a member for the duration of your time as a postgraduate student. Just remember to switch membership status whenever you start or stop working!

More info

Attached file(s):