University staff in Edinburgh vote for strike action

Dispute over outsourcing risk at Queen Margaret University sees 100% vote for action in 75% turn-out

UNISON members have voted for strike action – by 100% in a 75% turn-out – in a bid to keep Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University as their employer.

The members who voted are campus operations staff, including supervisors, security officers, facilities assistants and members of the grounds team.

They are at risk of seeing their jobs outsourced as the university finalises a tendering exercise covering the whole ancillary workforce, some of whose work is already contracted out to private companies.

Commenting on the ballot result today, UNISON Scotland head of higher education Lorcan Mullen said: “UNISON members in this department have shown clearly they will strike to stay in direct employment – they know and the union knows what outsourcing means for support services workers.

“The 100% yes vote on a strong turnout in a short-run ballot shows considerable resolve and unity.

“To protect our members, safeguard safety-critical services to students and to avoid damaging industrial action, I call on the university’s leadership to rule out further outsourcing at the earliest opportunity.”

Lorcan Mullen can be contacted on email at

Higher education members across the UK are taking part in an industrial action ballot over pay. The ballot closes on 30 October in England, Scotland and Wales, and on 5 November in Northern Ireland.

Find out more about the UK ballot