A MOVE to dismiss teaching staff at a university is “unacceptable” said a local politician.

James Kelly, Labour MSP for Glasgow, said Glasgow University should review its decision to dismiss or not keep on teaching staff who expected to continue working later this year.

A handful of graduate teaching assistants - postgraduate students employed to teach undergraduate classes - have been given notice by the university that they will be out of work.

In an email to teaching assistants at the university’s college of social and political sciences, it was outlined that those on two-year contracts would not be allocated teaching hours due to an expected decrease in demand, especially from international students.

Those on one-year contracts were told they will not have their contracts extended as expected.

In the same email, the university said it would try to develop other job opportunities for those affected and that it would inform students if these came about.

Mr Kelly said: “This is unacceptable from Glasgow University. Graduate teaching assistants carry out important work.

“I appreciate these are uncertain times but to issue sacking notices four months prior to the start of term is a harsh way to treat people. They need review this decision.”

Glasgow Times:

The Glasgow MSP wrote a letter to the head of the university, Sir Anton Muscatelli, detailing his concerns.

He wrote: “I would be grateful if you could explain why the school has taken this decision to end the main source of income for many postgraduate researchers at this very difficult time.

“I recognise the immense pressure the university sector is under and believe a new settlement is needed to respond to the challenges arising from Covid-19.

“I would hope the university has exhausted all options and representations to government before unilaterally sacking the graduate teaching assistants in the school.”

He also expressed concerns that the decision might be replicated across the university and that other staff could lose their jobs.

Speaking later, Mr Kelly said the university had not spoken with the University and College Union (UCU), which represents university teaching staff about the job losses.

Glasgow Times:

A spokesman for the university said: “At this stage, we are still in the process of assessing our workload needs for the next academic year. We are therefore not yet in a position to issue contracts to graduate teaching assistants.

“However, we are committed to doing everything we can to protect jobs. We will share more information as soon as we can.”

A report commissioned by the UCU last month warned that the higher education sector could face a loss of £2.5bn due to the coronavirus crisis.

The report by London Economics also warned of the potential loss of 30,000 university jobs.