Matthew Keracher | Wed, 2 Jan 2019
Scotland’s national student union has united with Scotland’s largest trade union to bring an end to exploitative work on college and university campuses.
NUS Scotland, who recently affiliated to Unite Scotland’s Fair Hospitality campaign, has written to all members encouraging them to become Fair Hospitality employers.
The letter, which has been distributed to student leaders throughout Scotland, calls for an end to ‘predatory practices’ within the hospitality sector.
The announcement comes as it was revealed that 70% of hospitality workers are paid less than the living wage and 25% of workers are on zero-hours contracts. Following their recent landmark employment tribunal success over the G1 Group, Unite Hospitality encourages employers to end unpaid trial shifts, pay the real living wage and implement anti-sexual harassment policies through their ‘Fair Hospitality charter’.
A 2016 TUC report showed that 67% of women in hospitality has reported some form of sexual harassment whilst working within the industry. This follows NUS Scotland research showing that 1 in 5 students have experienced sexual harassment.
In October, NUS Scotland’s Scottish Executive Committee ratified their endorsement of the campaign as part of their ‘historic commitment to social justice’.
“All too often we hear stories of students who are employed on dodgy contracts, being paid below what they are entitled to or being treated badly. So we hope knowing more about the law around employment will help you realise when your boss is treating you unfairly."
Image from AUSA Student Workers Guide
Lina Nass, AUSA Sabbatical Officer for Communities told the Gaudie:
“It's excellent to see NUS Scotland sign up to the Hospitality Charter! At our last Student Council in November, AUSA also voted to affiliate to Fair Hospitality, and we encourage every other Student Union - as well as Universities and businesses - to do the same."
Last semester, Nass spearheaded the publication of a student workers’ guide to rights at work. The guide, which can be downloaded from the AUSA website [hyperlink here], urges students working throughout the time of their degree to join a trade union and gain a larger voice whilst engaging in part-time or causal labour.
“All too often we hear stories of students who are employed on dodgy contracts, being paid below what they are entitled to or being treated badly. So we hope knowing more about the law around employment will help you realise when your boss is treating you unfairly. The next time you’re not allowed to take a break at work, or hear about a friend who had to work a trial shift without being paid, remember that there are laws in place to protect your rights as a worker.”
“Student hospitality workers in Scotland are amongst the most exploited workers in the country."
NUS Scotland President Liam McCabe, courtesy of NUS Press Release
Commenting, NUS Scotland President Liam McCabe said:
“An ever-growing proportion of students across Scotland work in the hospitality industry, often at the behest of unscrupulous employers.
“NUS Scotland are delighted to unite with Unite Hospitality to encourage our members to promote fair and decent workplace practices through their student unions.
“Student hospitality workers in Scotland are amongst the most exploited workers in the country. We are proud that some of our student unions are already committed living wage employers and have robust anti-sexual harassment policies in place already.
“The Unite Hospitality campaign, and their Fair Hospitality Charter, can ensure every student union throughout Scotland has the knowledge and collective confidence to radically transform the outlook for our members on campus.
“Through our letter we hope every student leader across Scotland can engage with the campaign, ensuring Scotland’s students are employed safely and securely.”
Bryan Simpson, Unite Hospitality industrial organiser added:
“We are delighted that the NUS have thrown their full weight behind our campaign to improve the wages and working conditions of student workers across Scotland.
“We hope that this will send a message to hospitality employers everywhere - if student unions on relatively tight budgets can afford to pay the real living wage and for transport home for staff and still turn a profit then so can they.”