UNISON backs Scottish higher education reform bill

Bill proposing to give unions a seat on all university courts dye to receive third reading in Scottish Parliament

UNISON has welcomed Scottish government proposals to give unions a seat on university courts, as part of its Higher Education Governance Bill, which will have its third reading in the Scottish Parliament today.

UNISON represent professional and support staff in universities across Scotland and believes the move will improve participation in decision-making, and ultimately improve the lives of students.

The move will help make sure “that Scottish higher education institutions are more inclusive, and will enable our members voices to be heard on campus,” says UNISON Scotland head of higher education Emma Phillips.

“UNISON members are key frontline staff and integral to providing the excellent student experience that Scottish institutions all aim to deliver.

“The fact that they will now play a part in running our universities will improve services for students.”

Scottish university chancellors have expressed fears that the bill would harm the autonomy of education institutions.

But, says Ms Phillips, “the key aim of the bill is to strengthen governance in the sector and enable universities to embrace greater transparency and openness, by having trade union representation on university courts.

“The reform means professional and support staff will be in a stronger position to improve student services.

“We believe that the Higher Education Governance Bill will empower staff and students and encouraging a partnership between staff, students and management of higher education institutions.”