Student unions feel pinch

July 21, 2000

Jobs are being axed at struggling student unions, pitching members of Unison, the administrative staff union, against students.

At Manchester Metropolitan University, the student union has made 14 staff redundant in the past few weeks.

At Sheffield Hallam University, 19 people have lost their jobs. Three posts are under threat at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Chris Fox, president of the MMU student union, estimated its deficit at Pounds 400,000. He blamed the shortfall on the new funding arrangements:

"Students are more cautious with their money. They are much less likely to join clubs and societies and much more likely to get part-time jobs." He added that the union had closed bars and shops at some campuses.

In the past year, Sheffield Hallam University student union has cut the number of contracted staff from 95 to 56. John Farrar, Sheffield regional higher education officer for Unison, said: "Like most student unions, Sheffield Hallam is extremely financially unstable. It failed to keep up with student needs, particularly on the entertainments side."

At Leeds Metropolitan University, the student union deficit is thought to be up to Pounds 100,000. Kerk Lawley, outgoing president of LMU student union, blamed the financial pressure on competition for the student pound.

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