In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, Union President Emily Harrison has announced in a statement today that several members of the SUSU workforce will be furloughed in order to ‘remain financially sustainable for the future’.
In her statement, Harrison notes that ‘although we [SUSU] are currently in a strong financial position, we expect that the effects of the ongoing pandemic will be long-term’.
Subsequently, a number of staff across the SUSU staff structure will be placed on furlogued leave for various periods of time, although Harrison has assured students that SUSU will be ‘ensuring there will always be people to provide support’ to students, clubs and societies.
With Highfield campus being closed, this then means that all of SUSU’s commercial outlets like The Bridge, Stags and The Shop are also closed.
Harrison has confirmed that the Union Services staff-members who are usually based on Highfield are consequently on furloughed leave, although it is unclear how long for.
Furthermore, with club and society activity being ‘significantly reduced’, Harrison states that ‘it is no longer necessary to have the entire team of full-time coordinators as well as the relevant Sabbatical Officers, VP Activities and VP Sports working.’
VP Sports and Union President-elect Olivia Reed will be on furlough leave until 1st June, although she will continue in her capacity as trustee for SUSU during this time.
Meanwhile, VP Activities Fiona Sunderland will remain working for the moment, but ‘will also be off for a shorter period of leave at a later date’.
Presumably, Sabbatical Officers Emily Harrison (Union President), Joanne Lisney (VP Education and Democracy) and Laura Barr (VP Welfare and Community), will not be on any furloughed leave, and will continue working full-time remotely as they have done since the University’s closure.
According to the statement, the rest of the Activities Team – which includes roles such as Activities Coordinator, External Engagement Coordinator and Creative Industries Coordinator – will be split in half and will rotate being furloughed on a three-weekly basis.
In a discussion with students on the Facebook post of her statement, Emily has clarified that SUSU will be topping up salaries to 100% for the first month, 90% for the second and then they will be on 80% from the third month onwards. She has also confirmed that SUSU will be setting up a staff hardship fund.
However, students can be assured that ‘although there is less staff than usual, we [SUSU] have assured that there will always be support available for clubs and societies’.
‘As a Students Union, we remain committed to representing all aspects of student needs to the University, and the rest of the Sabbatical and staff team will continue to support you through this difficult time as best we can,’ explains Emily in her statement.
Students who would usually contact Olivia are advised to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries they may have.