“We have to stand up for our members’ rights,” delegates at UNISON’s higher education conference heard this afternoon as they made a number of decisions on Britain’s exit from the EU and its effects on both the sector and the union members who work in it.
“We have members who are frightened,” said Rose Babbage from the University of Leeds, “especially as the situation progresses and changes every week.”
With both students and staff coming from across Europe, and the wider world, that uncertainty has a particular effect on higher education, conference heard.
Recent figures from the higher education data body HESA recorded the equivalent of 43,000 full-time staff came from elsewhere in the EU – just over 10% of all university workers.
The conference pledged to:
- work with other bodies in the sector to support staff who have settled in the UK and wish to remain after Brexit, including urging employers to financially support staff having to seek permanent residence status;
- promote the union’s migrant workers and EU members networks;
- highlight the value of international students and staff;
- work to defend the Erasmus student exchange programme.