Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

University of Edinburgh to end zero-hours contracts

Edinburgh UNiversity
Image caption The University of Edinburgh has agree to review the contracts

The University of Edinburgh has signed an agreement to end the use of zero-hours contracts for employees.

It had been highlighted by the University and College Union (UCU) as the biggest user of the contracts in higher education.

The UCU, which represents lecturers, found universities were more likely than other places to use the practice.

Zero-hours contracts allow employers to hire staff without any guarantee of the number of hours they will work.

Employees can often be called on to work at short notice and are paid only for the hours they work.

After talks with the union, Edinburgh University agreed to review its use of the 'hours to be notified' contracts, with the hope of replacing them with other types of contract.

A statement said steps were being taken to give staff guaranteed hours and to move to pro-rata contracts.

Positive relations

UCU Scottish official Mary Senior said: "We welcome the commitment from the University of Edinburgh to eradicate zero-hours contracts.

"We will continue to campaign against exploitative casualised contracts in higher education and are eager to work with any other universities who wish to demonstrate they are good employers."

The university's deputy director of human resources, Eilidh Fraser, said: "We are pleased to be working in partnership with our trade unions to review our use of 'hours to be notified' contracts and maintain our good employment practices, pay and conditions for all our staff.

"This builds on our long-standing positive relations with the unions."

Research released at the start of August suggested that there could be about one million workers in the UK on zero-hours contracts.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found up to 4% of the UK workforce were on such contracts.

This is much higher than revised estimates from the Office of National Statistics of just 250,000.

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