UNIONS and MSPs have claimed that workers at a university could be sacked, after redundancy notices were issued to staff in the run-up to Christmas.
At least 29 staff at Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University (QMU) have been told they could lose their jobs and some employees face compulsory redundancy, according to the public sector union Unison,
The bulk of the jobs at risk are among the university’s security staff. Union officials say they have received notices warning them that they could be made redundant.
Staff have been told to reapply for their jobs, unions say, although QMU bosses have yet to decide on whether to go ahead with the redundancies. However, compulsory redundancy notices have been issued to three workers in the university’s finance department.
A QMU spokeswoman confirmed those three workers were being made redundant, but rejected union claims that other redundancy notices had been issued.
Unison has called on education secretary Michael Russell to intervene, claiming the university has failed to “comply with its legal obligations to consult” union representatives and the government.
Unison regional organiser Emma Philips said QMU authorities should withdraw the redundancies.
She said: “The planned changes are part of a reorganisation with enough jobs for all existing staff.
“We have now written to Mike Russell to tell him we do not believe there is a genuine redundancy situation. The jobs still exist, although there is a change to some of the tasks within the jobs.
“We want Queen Margaret University to withdraw all notices of redundancy and review all their processes in regard to this issue. And we call on Mike Russell as education secretary to take swift action to ensure this happens.”
Labour MSPs Neil Findlay, Kezia Dugdale and Sarah Boyack have also written to Mr Russell demanding that he steps in to prevent the redundancies. Mr Findlay, Labour’s shadow learning minister, said: “I am very concerned at these developments. It seems that agreed procedures have not been followed and that staff have been treated very poorly.
“There appears to be no need for the compulsory redundancies.”
A QMU spokeswoman said: “The focus within the university is on investment and growth. Nevertheless, three staff have been made redundant in the finance team, as part of a departmental restructure to meet customer needs.
“Separately, within our security function, we started a consultation with staff and trades unions in September on proposals for reorganisation.
“It is our intention to avoid any of the security team being dismissed as a result of the reorganisation.”