UNISON backs Universities Scotland funding call

UNISON, the leading union for education support staff, is backing Universities Scotland’s plea for reliable, sustainable funding of the sector in the next Scottish budget.

UNISON believes fully funding the cost of teaching Scottish-domiciled students would reduce the sector’s reliance on international student fees and commercial income. In the era of Covid and Brexit associated economic crises, an area of such strategic importance for Scotland should not be left vulnerable to international shocks.

Lorcan Mullen, UNISON regional organiser said: “Scottish universities have received poor funding settlements for years now. For staff providing essential support services, that has meant a constant churn of restructures, needless anxiety about long-term job security, and excuses for years of imposed, below-inflation pay offers. It is difficult for institutions to deliver a high quality student experience, and to treat their staff properly, when there is a constant imperative to cut costs.

“The current crisis has shown the risks and difficulties that come with relying so heavily on international students and commercial income to cross-subsidise education and essential support services. We appreciate the Scottish Government faces challenges responding to the pandemic, but stronger fiscal support for universities will help underpin Scotland’s prosperity coming out of this crisis.”