Open-ended contracts

As a result of a tribunal won by a member (supported by UCU) against University of Aberdeen all staff at the University who are employed for longer than 9 months are now employed on 'open-ended contracts'.

Key points

  • The open-ended contract does not specify a termination date for employment at the University. If you are engaged on a project that has a specific timeline then consultation will begin before the end of your expected project completion date to assess future employment opportunities beyond that project
  • You will receive notice that your post is at risk of redundancy at least 5 months before the activities that you are engaged on are due to conclude. During these 5 months you, your line manager and University's HR department will investigate opportunities for you to continue your employment at the institution
  • If your post is at risk of redundancy you will be placed on the University's Redeployment Register and be able to apply for any new posts that are due to be advertised at the University two weeks in advance of other internal and external candidates
  • As part of the redeployment process you will have at least two meetings with your line manager where you will have the opportunity to discuss your circumstances. The University provides career development advice and support, both internally via HR and the Careers Service and externally with third party consultants
  • If you are offered a position which is considered to be suitable alternative employment you will need appropriate justification for declining it. The University has a statutory obligation to mitigate redundancy and you may jeopardise your redundancy payment if you unreasonably reject redeployed positions. You are strongly advised to participate in the process by attending meetings with your line manager and HR
  • All individuals facing redundancy have the right of appeal under the University's appeals procedure
  • Any member of staff could be at risk of redundancy if the work for which they are initially engaged ceases or diminishes or if institutional funding diminishes

Is your post or your funding coming close to an end?

If so, you can apply for other posts, and be interviewed, in advance of the general job advert going out.

This is a significant advantage negotiated by UCU and has helped many people retain employment here.

But the time window for those applications is extremely short, so you should try to keep checking the list of redeployment vacancies on the website.

Sometimes there are suitable posts organised through different Schools.

Several people have recently lost out on these redeployment opportunities because the deadline passed before they noticed the suitable post.


If you are a UCU member and would like support with this issue you should contact Susan Melvin ( | 01224 272377) so that you can be provided with help through personal casework assistance.

A full copy of the Employment Tribunal Report can be read here.