NUS Scotland welcomes agreement to end zero-hour contracts at University of Edinburgh

Commenting on the agreement reached today by the University of Edinburgh and University and College Union (UCU), which means that zero-hour contracts will be phased out for staff, including post-graduate students, NUS Scotland President Gordon Maloney said:-“We welcome the agreement by UCU and the University of Edinburgh to phase out the use of zero-hour contracts. These arrangement are bad for staff and bad for students. Many casual employees at Scottish universities are postgraduate students who often have no way of knowing how many hours they will have from month to month, and therefore if they’ll be able to support their studies. Flexibility in the workplace is important, particularly for students, but there should never be a trade-off between flexibility and security or rights at work”

“Zero-hour contracts affect undergraduate students as well, as staff with little job security could negatively affect teaching quality. If the quality at Scottish universities is to remain high, we need to see teaching remain valued, and staff on contracts that allow them to focus on students’ needs. We now need guarantees that no jobs will be lost through this transition and that teaching quality will be protected.

“The University of Edinburgh is showing that you don’t need zero hours contracts to run a university. We now need to see every other university follow Edinburgh’s lead and end the use of these contracts. By offering more secure contracts, universities can allow staff to not only gain job security but maintain high standards of quality.”