Unions to target working students

21-04-2005

Students in Edinburgh with part-time jobs are being given free trade union cards in an experimental scheme.

The Link Card will allow them to use employment support and legal services, in the hope they will join a union after graduating.

The move by the STUC and National Union of Students is in response to mounting worries about the extent of student employment.

Research in February showed more than a third worked 20 or more hours per week.

The study, involving about 400 students, also revealed almost two thirds worked more than 15 hours a week.

As many as 69% of them blamed financial hardship as the reason for taking a job.

Recruitment drive

Fiona Smith, leader of the STUC youth committee, said: "Our research shows the majority of students are working and that most have to do so to support their day-to-day needs.

"Whilst we are not saying that students should not work, we do believe that they need representation and a constructive dialogue with employers to prevent underachievement through over-work."

Anne Douglas, president of the STUC, added: "There is no replacement for the protection and involvement that comes with full trade union membership.

"Nevertheless, we expect this scheme to offer an unprecedented level of support for working students and that - in time - it will lead to a higher uptake of trade union membership by the next generation of Scottish workers."

BBC News

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