STUDENT workers who were refused access to the furlough scheme back in March have now been let go – via email – by the University of the West of Scotland.

Catering staff, on zero-hour contracts and supporting themselves through their studies, fought for financial help after university bosses said they wouldn’t be put through the government’s job retention scheme.

They eventually managed to secure support from the university, equal to their monthly wage, in May.

But some of the staff have now been sent their P45 and have hit out at the “impersonal way” they were told.

A university spokeswoman said it was not able to extend contracts where no work was available.

She added the university regrets any occasion where there is not “open” dialogue with staff.

One worker revealed they had been let go – as well as “at least three other staff” – via email.

“We were first made aware that our contracts would not be renewed when we received our P45s via email.

“No other communication was received. Some of us have worked there for over two years and this is how they choose to terminate our employment.”

They said they were having to “chase” the university for final remuneration.

“It is the final nail in the coffin for the heinous and degrading way UWS has been treating their employees on zero-hour contracts since they closed the doors in March.”

The worker added they appreciated their positions were now “surplus to requirements” but “to be let go in such an impersonal way speaks volumes”.

Some staff had contracts expire in mid-August but were kept on to help with cleaning and sanitising students halls and teaching blocks.

They say they were advised HR would be in touch to explain whether their contracts would be extended.

“The next communication we received was an email containing our P45,” a worker said.

The staff, who worked in the campus café and coffee shop, had been struggling to pay their bills when they were refused access to the furlough scheme.

They had been advised to seek furlough by the Department for Work and Pensions but the university turned down their request, saying hardship funds were available.

Two MPs, Mhairi Black and Neil Gray, and Neil Bibby MSP sent letters to the university’s principal asking him to resolve the issue.

The staff, and their union, Unite, secured support after negotiations with the university. In a statement at the time, UWS management said they were pleased the offer of hardship funding had been accepted.

Following complaints over the issuing of P45s, the university spokeswoman said: “Supporting our colleagues and students in these difficult times has been and remains our absolute priority.

“The university worked with this group to offer alternative work in support of campus preparations, where the type of work normally associated with these temporary contracts was not available.

“It is unfortunate that UWS, like many other organisations, is not in a position to extend employment contracts where no work is available.”

She added: “We strive to have timely, open and constructive dialogue with our colleagues at all times, including in advance of contracts coming to an end.

“We regret any occasion where this has not taken place and have been in direct communication with some of those affected and will be happy to have further dialogue with colleagues as appropriate.”