Universities urged to support EU staff

Higher education conference calls on employers to give practical support staff to 12,500 support staff dealing with uncertainty following Brexit vote

UNISON members who are citizens of other EU countries line up on Parliament Square, Westminster, with #Righttostay placards

Universities across the UK need to support staff who are citizens of other EU countries, including with legal advice, financial support and paid time off for members dealing with residency or citizenship applications, UNISON’s higher education conference heard today.

Meeting before the conference started, the service group executive called for the support for almost 12,500 university support staff, and the 20% of academic staff, who are EU citizens.

“University leaders have been very vocal in their concern that the UK’s exit from the EU will make it harder to recruit and retain staff from the EU and around the world,” the executive noted.

Reading out the service group executive’s decision at the start of conference, assistant general secretary Roger McKenzie said: “Our members deserve better than uncertainty” from “a government seemingly intent on providing as much disinformation and stress as possible.”

“We have to be the ones standing up for the right of our members who provide invaluable services for people in this country.’ he added.

Conference backed this up, adopting a policy to oppose xenophobic division and to campaign with fellow education unions and student to support colleagues from other countries.

“We believe everyone has a right to a decent and happy life, and everyone has a right to access work and education,” delegates declared.