UCD Students’ Union President Pat de Brún has confirmed that the Student Bar will be closing on 15 June 2012 for the duration of the summer in order to address concerns surrounding its financial situation.
Concerns have been raised by the Student Club Committee that the current structure has become unmanageable due to the annual losses being generated. In order to facilitate restructuring negotiations, the bar will need to cease trading temporarily. De Brún revealed that the decision to close the bar was made on 5 June 2012 after new financial information regarding the turnover of the Student Club became apparent, although it was only communicated to the bar staff that the Student Club would be closing on 13 June.
De Brún cited increasing deficits in the bar’s finances as the main reason for this decision. “The bar is in a loss-making situation and has been for a number of years. We’ve now reached a point where those losses can’t be supported for much longer and urgent action is required if the bar is to survive. We believe that last year the Student Club lost over €90,000. With that in mind, the committee came to the decision to engage the Student Club staff with a view to reducing the costs and making the bar a viable operation. So in order to facilitate those negotiations, the bar is closing for the summer period.”
While admitting that the Student Club plays an “important role in any student’s time in UCD,” De Brún did concede that if a restructuring agreement could not be agreed upon with the Student Club staff, the bar would be wound up.
Staff at the Student Club have expressed their dismay at the manner in which the situation has been managed, highlighting the sudden closure of the bar without their consultation as disappointing. In documentation presented to bar staff at a meeting with the Student Club Committee on 13 June, it was indicated that should the Club continue trading as it has, it would run out of funds this month.
A member of the bar staff said, “The options they gave us are staff redundancies, staff pay cuts, changes to opening times and changes to contracts. They want to eliminate from our contracts all of what we’ve built up over years of practice and experience.”
However, the staff have reiterated their willingness to enter discussions with the Student Club Committee to resolve the situation. “We are quite willing to sit down with them … We have in the past readjusted our conditions, hours and rosters. We’ll approach it in a professional manner.”
The future of the Student Club will be decided over the coming weeks following discussions between the Student Club Committee, its staff and their trade union. Should negotiations fail to deliver an agreement, the bar will be forced to cease trading permanently.
by Killian Woods