Wed, May 02, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Part-time lecturers call attention to growing wage gap

Staff writer, with CNA

Teachers and students belonging to the Taiwan Higher Education Union deliver a petition to the Ministry of Education in Taipei on Monday, demanding fair pay and conditions for part-time lecturers and research and teaching assistants.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Part-time university lecturers on Monday urged the Ministry of Education to address a widening wage gap between themselves and their full-time colleagues.

Members of the Taiwan Higher Education Union said many part-time college instructors, whose numbers have increased by 63 percent over the past decade, earn the minimum monthly wage of about NT$18,900, despite sometimes having to shoulder workloads equal to those of their full-time peers.

The union members summarized seven other types of atypical employment commonly seen on university campuses, including interns, research assistants and contract administrative workers, and demanded reasonable treatment for them.

These non-standard employees are exploited by universities, the members said.

As the number of full-time -faculty positions have been reduced, universities tend to hire several part-time instructors, particularly new doctoral graduates, to share the work of one full-time instructor, the union members said.

Part-time lecturers are not eligible for the same lecturing and research resources because they cannot apply for research projects independently, and they also miss out on pensions and insurance, they said.

Moreover, female part-time -instructors are not allowed to take maternity leave, which is tantamount to a ban on them becoming pregnant, they said.

Representatives of the National Taiwan University union also said the scholarship system has been twisted, with universities treating scholarship and grant recipients as part-time workers. Some low--income students who receive grants are expected to work for as much as 50 hours a semester on campus, they said.

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