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Edinburgh University to end zero-hours contracts

Edinburgh University has agreed to end staff zero-hours contracts. Picture: Greg Macvean

Edinburgh University has agreed to end staff zero-hours contracts. Picture: Greg Macvean

  • by ANDREW WHITAKER
 

EDINBURGH University has signed a deal with the college lecturers union to end controversial zero-hours contracts for staff working at the institution.

The move comes after it emerged that Edinburgh was the biggest user of zero-hours contracts among United Kingdom universities, with 2,712 of its employees on casual working arrangements.

Zero-hour contracts at Edinburgh University will be scrapped by the end of the year following the deal between the institution and the University and College Union (UCU).

The contracts allow employers to hire staff with no guarantee of work, meaning the employees only work when they are needed, often at short notice, and are paid only for the hours they work.

Other Scottish universities which employ hundreds of staff on similar contracts to Edinburgh have 
resisted calls to end the practice that allows employers to hire staff with no guarantee of work.

The deal at Edinburgh will affect around 2,382 staff in teaching and research posts, as well as hundreds of others working in catering and events positions at the university.

Eilidh Fraser, Edinburgh’s deputy director of human res­ources, said that the institution had agreed to end the arrangements as part of a move to improve employment relations with staff.

Other staff unions such as Unite, Unison and EIS, were also involved in talks, ahead of the agreement that will apply to all workers at the university.

Yesterday there were growing calls on other Scottish universities employing large numbers of casual staff to agree similar deals to that between Edinburgh and the UCU.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland had the second highest number of staff on zero contracts at 635 staff, with 477 employed on that basis at Glasgow University.

Other institutions employing staff on zero-hour arrangements include the University of Stirling with 412 staff on the causal contracts, Edinburgh’s Napier University at 251 and Strathclyde University at 227.

 

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