Developing demands around doctoral work

In the lead-up to our conference this Saturday, we’ve been discussing demands that could help give our movement form and direction. We previously published a number of these for discussion and at the conference we will be debating, refining and deciding them. To add this this list, we’re also thinking about the research work that doctoral students carry out. Below is a proposal of a demand we might organise around – it will be the basis for discussion in the “Doctoral Researchers – Students or Workers?” session on Saturday, so come along with your ideas! And do take a look at the other preliminary demands here.

Doctoral students should be recognised as workers, with workers’ rights and pay

Not just the teaching, but the research that doctoral students carry out is work too. Our departments and our institutions benefit from our research work, but we are not treated as employees. We have no workplace rights, no clear terms and conditions, and many of us are expected to self-fund – as if a PhD was a 3 year unpaid internship. PhDs should not only be treated as students but also recognised officially as employees. That means decent pay, hours and employment contracts, and trade union rights.

Photo: Tongji University Library, by Matthias Ripp


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