Since 2014, King’s students have campaigned for better training and pay that reflects the work GTAs really do. Thanks to the perseverence of campaigners, the College has met some demands halfway (such as a few hours of ‘training’, and some increase in hours paid for preparation and marking).
But there’s still more to do. We’ve picked up this campaign to make sure that we keep up the pressure and demand that King’s College properly supports its GTAs.
What do we hope to achieve?
GTAs are professional teachers, and as such we should be trained at a professional level. Of course, PhD students are all experts in their fields, and we develop classroom techniques and pedagogical theory ‘on the job’. But many GTAs are new to teaching and would benefit from a structured training programme to complement their self-study.
It’s an open secret that GTAs work far more hours than they are contracted for, just to fit in the basics of preparing classes and marking. So, many GTAs end up working for below minimum wage. We think that GTA wages should reflect the real hours put in.
We hope this campaign will secure the training and pay that GTAs deserve, that will benefit GTAs and the students we teach.
It’s important that we continue the fight to end precarity and low wages, as the treatment of GTAs is just one symtom of King’s placing profit above all else. Rises in tuition fees, increased class sizes, more and more teaching staff on casual contracts, pay freezes for professional service staff (in departments and libraries), and the use of outsourced companies for vital College work are all linked. We are proud that King’s students and workers joined together to bring cleaners in-house, and we hope that this will be a first step in the College taking its ethical responsibilities seriously.
Why should people show their support?
Current and future GTAs will benefit from better training and pay.
Postgraduates who have turned down GTA positions because of other (better paid/ supported) work will be able to see GTA work as a viable option – this is especially important for Part Time or self-funded postgraduate students who might otherwise miss out on this vital academic experience.
If GTAs were to be treated fairly and as professional teachers, the quality of teaching and feedback for Undergraduates and MA students would improve enormously.
GTA working conditions are everyone’s learning conditions, and student-wide support is vital for the success of this campaign.
Read more about what the campaign has achieved so far, and what remains to be done here.
How will we win?
1. Sign the petition so that KCLSU will support the campaign (meaning we’ll have more access to campaigning resources and meetings with King’s management to make change happen!).
2. If you’re are currently or have been a GTA since 2017-2018, we are collecting testimonies to help the campaign. Complete the survey here.
3. If you’re a PhD student who has considered GTA work but not applied, or turned down an offer of work, we’d like you to tell us why. Complete the survey here.
4. Join UCU for FREE if you’re a GTA. One of UCU’s many campaigns is around casualisation and fair pay. The current ballot is about many issues that affect GTAs – so if you’re a member already please vote YES.
5. Not a GTA? Send us a note of support ❤
6. We will organise further campaign activity throughout 2018-2019. Check the blog for updates!