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Edinburgh Napier University shamed over 'zero-hours lecturer' advert

EDINBURGH Napier University was named and shamed yesterday for advertising zero-hours lecturers’ jobs despite the public outcry over the practice. 

The university spurned academics’ union UCU’s warnings over an advert last week seeking a “zero-hours lecturer in child and public protection” at its nursing school.

UCU Scotland official Mary Senior said it was not the only zero-hours job that Napier had listed.

“Employing lecturers on zero-hours contracts is not conducive to a professional, well-supported and valued workforce,” she said.

“The continued use and promotion of zero-hours jobs in the sector is an embarrassment and is damaging the reputation of higher education in Scotland.”

But a Napier spokeswoman said the institution would continue to use zero-hours contracts “on a limited basis,” adding that all academic staff retained the same terms and conditions.

“We do fully appreciate the limitations of these contracts and are currently seeking to reduce our usage of these type of contracts,” she said.

The contracts, which leave employees with no fixed pay cheque from week to week, spurred an investigation by the Commons Scottish affairs committee earlier this year.

A string of Freedom of Information requests lodged by UCU last year had found that 15 of 19 universities surveyed kept teaching staff on zero-hours contracts.

Of those, just under half had more than 100 people working on such terms — and one institution had more than 2,000.

The tactic amounted to “unashamed exploitation,” the MPs said.

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