Shift cuts leave Union workers out of pocket
The number of shoppers in the Union was approximately 17% below target last week, partly due to the University’s failure to accurately anticipate the drop in student numbers following the fee hike.
A Union spokesperson told Leeds Student: “Every year, the Union relies on the University to keep us updated on estimated student numbers, so we can plan accordingly. Unfortunately this year, student numbers are some way off estimated figures.”
One student retail assistant expressed how the shift cuts have affected them: “I had budgeted for this year expecting to be taking on a certain amount of shifts, and it just means now I’ll be short of money.”
Antony Haddley, Union Affairs Officer said: “I am annoyed that low student numbers may impact on the amount of hours we can offer our staff.”
He added: “During my course, I worked at the Union so know how important those shifts are to people and how much our students rely on their regular wages. It frustrates me that as a result of the University missing their targets, the Union and ultimately the students may be left to pick up the pieces.”
The Union has stated that it is “extremely disappointed” at the need to reduce workers’ hours, but that it has a series of plans in place to try and keep income “as close to budget as possible”.
The impact of fewer first year students is being felt across the city. Unipol has already stated that it is expecting up to 2,000 empty beds across Leeds during 2013, with neighbouring businesses also expressing disappointment at the reduced number of students in the area.
In 2011, Leeds became one of the first University to ask for the maximum fee price of £9,000 a year.
A University spokesperson said: “We are now consulting across the University and with our stakeholders – including LUU – to bring future student numbers up to the levels we would all want.”
Words: Ellie Parkes