Queen Margaret Union sacks 31 staff members instead of furloughing them

Many of those affected are students

Queen Margaret Union is facing criticism for firing part-time staff before the summer rather than furloughing them.

Many of the staff who work at QMU are students and are unable to claim Universal Credit, nor do they receive loan payments.

“They could absolutely have continued to furlough them under the Job Retention Scheme,” Bryan Simpson, Industrial Organiser for Unite Hospitality, told The Glasgow Times.

“Despite the government’s plan to extend the 80 per cent furlough scheme until August 2020, QMU upper management still decided to terminate our contracts at the end of May. The reasons they gave for this premature termination are massively unsatisfactory,” an anonymous staff member told The Glasgow Tab.

Former rector of Glasgow University, Aamer Anwar, told The Glasgow Times: “I am so angry at the treatment of staff at the union. It is shoddy, outrageous and a total abuse of all the principles our University claims to stand up for.”

Current QMU President Courtney Hughes said: “To continue to furlough staff would have serious financial implications for us in the future.

“It was no longer a viable option for the union to continue furloughing staff. With the Union looking at seriously reduced income levels for some time we are already considering a number of ways we can save money – to ensure the long term sustainability of the Union.

“With student contracts at an end, no guarantee of us being able to offer future employment, and the consideration of serious financial implications, the board made the difficult decision to not extend the contracts of our part-time staff.

“We would like to highlight that it was a difficult decision to make, and we would like to thank our staff for their contribution to the union and wish them well.”