The government must protect universities in this crisis or job cuts will follow

Our excellent further and higher education systems are powered by an army of staff who do not have proper job security. Around 70% of researchers in universities are employed on fixed-term contracts, while more than 100,000 university teaching staff are also not permanent. In further education colleges nearly 20% of teachers are on a fixed-term contract and 25% are paid by the hour.

These staff are bearing the brunt of the wider financial uncertainty created by the virus. That’s why the government must guarantee all staff – including those on casual contracts – benefit from furlough arrangements. In the longer term, it should also commit to a review of the endemic casualisation of further and higher educ