Two of Emma Watson’s lecturers at The University of Oxford have successfully sued the uni

Emma Watson studies on Oxford’s creative writing course

Two lecturers at The University of Oxford who teach Emma Watson have won their case against the university after suing for unfair dismissal.

Alice Jolly and Rebecca Abrams were both lecturers on Oxford’s creative writing course which Emma Watson began studying in September.

In an interview with the Financial Times last year, Emma Watson revealed she was going back to university having reignited her love for writing during lockdown when she began writing poetry and a series of essays. She was pictured at her matriculation ceremony (where students officially enrol at the university) last year but has otherwise kept her Oxford student life private.

Emma Watson Oxford

Via Alessandro Bremec/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Her two lectures taught on the creative writing course for over 15 years and were employed on “personal services” contracts, which they claimed denied them key workplace rights.

Alice Jolly said: “Our course is so high profile that Emma Watson attends and pays £20,000. I myself won a scholarship to Oxford University and I have won some of the top literary prizes in this country.

“Yet I have worked for 16 years on a zero hours contract for teaching on this course and was dismissed when I complained. Where is the justice in that?”

But the judge ruled in their favour finding that they were engaged on fixed-term contracts of employment and should therefore be classed as employees. Rebecca Abrams said the outcome was a “vindication of everything we’ve been fighting for since 2018”.

She added: “Alice and I are skilled professionals teaching at one of the world’s top universities, yet we’ve been employed year after year on sham contracts that have denied us our employment rights and legal protections.”

“With nearly 70 per cent of its teaching staff on precarious contracts, Oxford is one of the worst offenders, but this is an issue that extends across UK higher education. Casualisation is a race to the bottom – bad for teachers, bad for students, and bad for universities.”

Via Canva

An Oxford University spokesperson said: “We have been notified of the tribunal’s ruling on this preliminary hearing and are currently reviewing it.”

The University College Union (UCU) general secretary Jo Grady added: “This is a huge win in the fight against gig economy working practices in higher education. Despite being one of the richest institutions in the world, the University of Oxford keeps thousands of academics on low-paid insecure contracts that leave staff impoverished.

“It’s completely unacceptable and it has to stop. This victory shows these contracts are often a sham and staff on them are entitled to the benefits of secure employment. Every employer in the sector now needs to pay attention to this ruling and begin working with UCU to move their employees onto secure contracts.”

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