'Staff are not costly luxury,' say Scots

March 22, 2002

The Association of University Teachers Scotland has praised moves to improve "people management" in higher education, which it hopes will include a better deal for contract researchers, writes Olga Wojtas.

Delegates at the AUT Scottish council meeting at St Andrews University welcomed the call from enterprise and lifelong learning minister Wendy Alexander for institutions to take action on human resource management and equal opportunities.

Progress on these is a condition of institutions getting money from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. Past president Angela Roger said Ms Alexander's advice identified "staff as a key resource, not an expensive luxury, not a liability". There was unanimous support from the Scottish Parliament to improve conditions for contract researchers, she said.

The council opposed any reduction in the number of MSPs when the number of Scottish Westminster MPs decreased as a result of redrawing constituency boundaries. There are fears that the number of MSPs could fall from 120 to 102. Delegates said this would undermine the Scottish Parliament's ability to work in a transparent and accessible way.

The union is set to lobby the Scottish Executive and Shefc to reinstate funding, axed in 1994, for non-accredited adult education courses.

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