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Union protests against return to campus in Scotland

UCU questions decision to permit university staff to go back without providing safety guidance.

The University and College Union in Scotland said it was “wrong” for the Scottish government to allow university staff to go back to work on 22 June before official workplace guidance had been published.

UCU Scotland official Mary Senior said it was “hugely disappointing” that government guidance published on 18 June had allowed university staff to return to campus “before the guidance we and others have been working so hard to produce is even published”.

“In the absence of the guidance, and the opportunity for everyone to be reassured that the guidance, along with a risk assessment-based approach is met and adhered to, it would be foolhardy for universities to be demanding staff return to workplaces,” Senior said.

A spokesperson for the Scottish government said guidance is due to be published this week and it is working with universities on plans for a phased return to campuses in the autumn. “The safety and wellbeing of students and staff is our overriding priority as universities plan for the next academic year.”

The spokesperson added the government expects “only a small number of people to be on campus for essential preparations for re-opening” in its next phase out of lockdown, known as Phase, and remote working “remains the default position for those who can”.