Despite being called during one of the busiest teaching days of the week, and at less than a week’s notice, a concerned meeting of university staff voted unanimously that they would boycott any new outlets set up by outside caterers if such a move had resulted in job losses for our existing catering staff.
The vote took place at the end of a meeting where campus unions had also expressed their concern over several other aspects of the financial situation that the university finds itself in. Concern was expressed over the way a projected budget surplus had turned into a substantial deficit within a year, despite financial concerns having been raised by unions previous to this, and assurances having been sought regarding whether the strategy adopted by management had been sound.
Speakers were critical of the continuing losses seen in the university’s New York campus, and the pressure such losses were seen to be having on current portfolio changes – perceived as increasingly cost driven rather than solely academically driven.
Further criticisms were also made of senior management salaries in this context, where GCU now had 18 members of the senior management team, (not including the principal), in the salary bands of £100,000 plus. Despite this, management emphasis was still on cutting ‘staff costs’ in a context where GCU had the highest student staff ratio (at 21:1) of all post-92 universities in Scotland.
Campus unions pledged to keep staff informed regarding current developments in the portfolio review, and in our campaign to achieve a sensible budget allowing the university to grow – but not at the cost of hard working staff.
Following the meeting, campus unions had a brief meeting with a representative of the City GMB branch – one of the unions, representing GCU’s catering staff, where they were updated on the present situation.