UNISON calls for immediate withdrawal of redundancy notices at Queen Margaret University

UNISON Scotland has called for the Education Secretary to intervene over incompetent redundancy notices issued by bosses at Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University. The higher education union wants the redundancy notices withdrawn immediately in this week before the Christmas break.

At least 29 staff have been notified that their jobs are under threat of redundancy – and three have been told they are definitely losing their jobs – despite the fact that the posts are not redundant. The university has also failed to comply with its legal obligations to consult with UNISON and to notify 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 begin being interviewed for their present jobs today.

“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. And we call on Mike Russell as Education Secretary to take swift action to ensure this happens.”

UNISON already has the support of Labour’s higher education spokesman Neil Findlay MSP, who is putting down a motion today in the Scottish Parliament in support of the QMU staff.

Emma Philips said:
“We believe these redundancy notices are incompetent – in the legal as well as the usual sense of the word. But the university management persists in putting people under this kind of pressure in the week before Christmas. It is totally unjust, they are totally wrong – and they should call a halt now.”


For further information please contact:

Emma Phillips, UNISON Regional Organiser, on 07538101221
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 0141 342 2877 or 078765 66978
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 0141 342 2877 or 07508 876 995

Notes for editors

1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing over 160,000 members working mainly in the public sector in Scotland and represents a range staff delivering important services in further and higher education.

2. Queen Margaret University has failed to comply with its statutory obligations to consult with the trade unions and to notify government. The legislation states that these consultations should take place if 20 people are vulnerable to redundancy.