The gig economy has taken root in Scotland’s universities

WHAT a week to choose for strike action. While shops were being shuttered and public transport systems were grinding to a halt on Wednesday, some hardy souls were manning picket lines at Glasgow University. As they huddled outside the snow-covered main building, students brought them coffee and hot rolls.

It’s a scene that doesn’t quite fit with the media narrative of swindled students vs pampered professors.

Of course Scottish students don’t pay tuition fees, so won’t have reached for their calculators as soon as the strike dates were announced, but another important dimension of this action is being overlooked. Many of these university workers have something important in common with those they teach: precarious employment.

Read the rest of this column at

Published in The National on March 2 2018.

Published by Shona Craven

Writer, editor, talking head

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