Warwick PhD students are allegedly missing out on pay after in-person teaching was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(UPDATE: 19.03.2020 17:50): University of Warwick respond to allegations that PhD students are to lose pay after in-person teaching cancelled
When contacted for comment, the University of Warwick stated: “No one could have foreseen that the world we had planned and budged for last summer would be the world we are actually in today.
“We are working hard to deliver what the government and health experts say will help protect us all, which is that ‘businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work at home, wherever possible’.
“We are therefore moving all teaching, assessment and anything else we possibly can, into online delivery serviced by staff and students working, researching and studying from home.
“While face to face teaching can clearly no longer be delivered in Term 3, Sessional Teaching Payroll workers will be involved in the creation and delivery of the replacement online teaching.”
A PhD student who approached The Boar said that he is “one of a few PhD students” who has had teaching cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was allegedly due to deliver a session on 19 March which had been arranged since last August. According to the student, “others had committed even earlier to weeks of teaching next term”.
The University of Warwick did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
An email sent from senior management of the student’s associated department, and seen by The Boar stated: “The University will pay the Sessional Teaching Payroll (STP) workers for the time they’ve spent already preparing the teaching and they should be encouraged to expedite the teaching online whenever possible.
“Where STP workers prepared the teaching but can’t deliver it then they’d receive payment for their preparations only.”
On the University’s COVID-19 advice page, the University states that it will not pay “for any lost contact time that cannot be delivered virtually”.
“Where possible the University will try to reschedule lost contact time in order to maintain continuity for its staff and students.”
The student added that many PhD students rely on contact hours for their income and alleged that teaching students “makes up far more of our pay than preparation, and very little preparation will have been undertaken already for teaching in the summer term”.
The student also alleged that “the departments will have already budgeted for paying us” and that they are “essentially trying to save money off the back of a crisis by depriving us of pay”.
“PhD students are crucial to the delivery of most courses across the University and most of us love our jobs.”
This article will be updated once the University’s response has been received.