Junior vets are being exploited over pay and benefits, such as holidays and maternity rights, by senior managers and academics in UK veterinary schools, the British Veterinary Union (BVU) in Unite has warned.

Junior vets are being exploited over pay and benefits, such as holidays and maternity rights, by senior managers and academics in UK veterinary schools, the British Veterinary Union (BVU) in Unite has warned.
 
BVU in UniteNow the BVU, a section of Unite (the largest union in the country) is conducting an online survey to discover the extent of the alleged abuses.

The survey is aimed at interns, residents, clinical scholars and others working in a similar capacity in UK veterinary schools.
 
The allegations are based on the fact that some of the UK veterinary schools have converted salaried internships into “training scholarships”, denying junior vets full employment rights, holidays, and benefits, such as pensions, sickness pay and maternity rights.
 
According to the union, this problem has been further highlighted by a letter to the media by Prof John Innes from the University of Liverpool (formerly head of the small animal division between 2001-2009), who claimed: “Some senior academics and managers in UK veterinary schools are effectively exploiting their eager and enthusiastic young colleagues.”
 
Shams Mir, chairman of the professional advisory committee, BVU in Unite“These same senior academic managers then often complain that it is difficult to get veterinary graduates to train in research by undertaking a PhD. Is it any wonder?”
 
Dr Shams Mir, chairman of the professional advisory committee, BVU in Unite, claimed Prof Innes’ concerns were “well-founded”, and said: “I fear that this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploitation. It is demeaning to the profession as a whole – that’s why we are carrying out the survey to discover the extent of the problems.”
 
According to the BVU, its recent link-up with Unite is “designed to give extra industrial muscle to ‘root out’ such abuses within the veterinary profession”.

 

  • The BVU Junior Vets in Universities Survey can be accessed via www.bvu.org.uk
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