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Higher Education (Zero-hours Contracts)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 7th November 2013.

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Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

The EIS campaign is welcome. Universities are autonomous institutions that set their own terms and conditions, but the EIS survey makes for worrying reading.

I was pleased to see that the University of Edinburgh has reached an agreement with the University and College Union to review its use of zero-hours contracts. That shows that the issue can be resolved. The Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council has also contacted Universities Scotland and Colleges Scotland to discuss what support can be provided to share good practice.

Employment law is currently reserved to Westminster but, under the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill, statutory guidance will be issued to encourage good employment practices, by allowing a company’s approach to workforce-related matters to be considered when its suitability to bid for public sector contracts is assessed.