Aberystwyth University Students’ Union staff at risk of redundancy

ALL UNION staff are at risk of redundancy as part of a restructuring process announced today by the Students’ Union. The decision follows a meeting of the Board of Trustees this morning. Staff will have the “opportunity to apply for the new roles within this new structure as part of a competitive recruitment process”, as well as being able to apply for internal vacancies within the University.

As previously reported by Aberystwyth Student Media, the Students’ Union has a predicted shortfall between costs and income of £150,000 for the 2012/13 academic year. President Ben Meakin announced to the Student Assembly on November 8th that the the Students’ Union had made the decision to transfer Building Services and Finance staff to the University, but as covered in the November issue of The Courier, the decision had since been made that Finance staff would not be transferred.

Meakin said “This is part of a plan to save £140k this year, due to our current deficit position. […] The University have been informed but this decision was taken by the Union Board of Trustees this morning.”

The Students’ Union currently has 21 staff positions, 20 of which are presently occupied. Following the restructure, Meakin said there will be  “11 full time Union staff with 1 position that is matrix managed with the University.”
The statement in full reads:

“Aberystwyth Students’ Union strives to ensure a strong, independent and fit for purpose Union for its members. Along with many other Student Unions throughout the UK, Aberystwyth SU has embarked on a change process to ensure that it can deliver membership services and commercial operations that meet the needs of current and future students, whilst remaining financially sustainable.

The Union recognises that the organisation had stagnated over recent times, which simultaneously has made us less effective as an organisation and opened up a range of risks for the future.

With this in mind, it is clear that the only way forward, is to rebuild the organisation from the ground up, allowing us to bring the Union structure in line with delivering the ‘Aber Experience Plan’ together with our vision:- helping us achieve our goal of being the benchmark for students’ unions in the UK. We have agreed a way forward, supported by specific help from our trustees. Over the past months the University’s governing body, the Council (of which we are members) has repeatedly confirmed the University’s support for a strong, sustainable and independent Union, and the University Executive will continue to work with us to achieve that end.

In order to ensure that the services we provide meet the current and future needs of our students, the Union has to undertake a radical restructuring process. This has meant that we have had to place all current staff at risk of redundancy as we move through the process, with the aim of creating an organisation fit for purpose, underpinned by a strong financial position.  All members of staff will have the opportunity to apply for the new roles within this new structure as part of a competitive recruitment process. Recognising that this is a challenging time for our staff, the University has also agreed to allow existing Union staff to apply for internal vacancies at the University, until March 31st 2013.”