Activists fight privatisation at Queen’s University Belfast SU

QUBSUBY AISLING GALLGHER

A few years ago, a decision was made in Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union (due to ‘efficiency savings’ required by the university) to outsource some of the security staff positions to G4S. Currently, the students’ union employs 18 security staff, half of whom are current students and half of whom are graduates.

Earlier this month, our security staff were told that their contracts will be terminated at the end of the month. They have two choices- take a job offered with G4S (on a zero-hour contract, without the support and protection that comes with being an employee of the university/union), or lose their job.

The ratified strategic plan (2012-2015) for QUBSU states that “the students’ union… places a key priority on ‘putting money in your pocket’” and that they “will do this by promoting and offering-part time job opportunities”. Our incoming president has placed student employment at the top of his agenda for the coming year.

In a single day, almost 1200 students signed a petition calling for a referendum on the issue, which will be held on 9th May.

We are calling for QUBSU Management Board to reverse this decision to outsource our students’ union jobs (which was decided behind closed doors, with no consultation whatsoever from the students’ union council, nor the wider study body), and reaffirm their support for protecting and enhancing job opportunities for students at the university.

Our students’ union is not a commercial union; it is and should be a union run by and for students. Protecting the few jobs that students have within the union/university is a top priority.

Stand in solidarity with students from Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union over the next few weeks as they prepare to take on their union management in defence of student jobs and against the creeping commercialisation that is becoming so common within students’ unions throughout the UK and Ireland.

Tweet support (@QUBSU, #savestudentjobs) in the form of videos, posters and statements, and show that we will stand united in the face of attacks on our students’ unions.

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