A motion to rehire the SU staff fired in December, and to re-open the Students’ Union Copy Bureau, has failed to pass Students’ Union Council, with only four representatives voting in favour of the proposal.
The motion, which was debated at Council last night, noted that “the SU Print Bureau is a vital service for both faculty and students in UCD”, and that “the way in which the Union handled the laying off of long serving SU staff members two weeks before Christmas and leaving students, during exams, without a decent print service reflects badly on the Union as a whole.” The motion further proposed that “the SU Print Bureau along with the SU staff members laid off before Christmas are reinstated as soon as possible and the SU financial shortfall is made up elsewhere without any impact on education or welfare. If it is claimed that money cannot come from elsewhere, the accounts (in detail) should be made public.”
Karl Gill, who proposed the motion, stated, “People come here for an education. Our priority is to safeguard education. As for everything else, we can have a smaller ball this year if needs be … we can do away with class rep training if needs be, if that’s the issue, but we have to protect education above everything else.”
The motion was defeated overwhelmingly when brought to a vote. As a result, the SU have no immediate plans to return the fired staff to their previous positions. This comes in the wake of a meeting held on campus yesterday to discuss resistance to the job losses.
During the debate, UCDSU President Pat de Brún stated, “We’re facing an absolutely unprecedented and historic crisis in the SU. This isn’t anyone in this room’s fault, and it’s certainly not the staff members who were faced with redundancy’s fault. I’m not saying that it is. But this situation is so serious that if it’s not addressed, the entire future of the Union is at risk. We’re in debt of over a million euro. Our services are making big losses. This was something that if we didn’t do it now we would possibly not have a Union to come back to within a year or two.
“These decisions are horrible. They are the most difficult thing that you could ever be asked to do, to sit down in front of a group of long-serving, hard-working, and loyal staff, and tell them there are no longer jobs there for them. That is something that has had to happen. I can promise you this is something that has not been taken lightly. It was something that was an absolute last resort, and it was something that was done to safeguard the future of the Union, and jobs across the Union.”
De Brún stated that the SU accounts will be available for release “in a few short weeks.” Planned resistance to cuts in jobs and services is ongoing.