Job axe fears for university staff

A total of 29 Queen Margaret University staff have been told by bosses that their jobs are under threat
A total of 29 Queen Margaret University staff have been told by bosses that their jobs are under threat
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ALMOST 30 staff at Queen Margaret University have been told that their jobs are at risk, Scotland’s largest trade union has said.

Unison Scotland has called on the Education Secretary Mike Russell to intervene over what it branded “incompetent redundancy notices” issued by bosses at the university to security and finance staff.

According to the higher education union, at least 29 staff have been notified that their jobs are under threat of redundancy, three of whom have been informed that they are “definitely losing their jobs” – despite the fact that the posts are not redundant.

Unison also said the university had failed to comply with its legal obligations to consult with the union and to notify the government.

Regional organiser Emma Philips said: “There is no need for these compulsory redundancies. The planned changes are part of a reorganisation with enough jobs for all existing staff.

“The duties of the three people in finance who were told they have been made compulsorily redundant will have to be covered by agency staff until new staff are recruited to cover their jobs. The security staff began being interviewed for their present jobs yesterday.

“We have now written to Mike Russell, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, 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.”

Mr Russell is understood to have passed the matter to his officials to see if they can offer any appropriate help.

Unison has the support of Labour’s education spokesman, MSP Neil Findlay, who put a motion in the Scottish Parliament yesterday in support of the Queen Margaret staff.

The MSP for the Lothians said: “I am very concerned at these developments at Queen Margaret University. 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. My colleagues Kezia Dugdale, Sarah Boyack, and I have written to the Minister to ask him to use his influence to help prevent these redundancies from taking place.”

Queen Margaret University said other than the three members of staff in the finance office who have received notices of redundancy, no further redundancies were being contemplated.

A spokeswoman said: “Separately, within our security function, we started a consultation with staff and trades unions in September on proposals for reorganisation again to meet changing customer needs. We have complied fully with legal obligations throughout both processes, and will continue to deal with further legal requirements as they arise.”