Trade union to protest in UCD

Mon, Sep 24, 2012, 01:00

Former bar staff at UCD’s Student Club are to place pickets on the campus next week over the failure of university authorities to pay outstanding wages and redundancy payments.

The trade union Mandate is in the process of serving notice to UCD president Dr Hugh Brady; UCD Students’ Union; and the university’s Student Centre over an estimated €215,000 in outstanding redundancy obligations.

The Bar Committee, which oversees the running of the Student Club, announced in June that the loss-making venue was no longer financially feasible and would close.

Mandate, which represents five members of the club’s staff, entered into negotiations with the Bar Committee. A series of meetings at the Labour Relations Commission resulted in an August 15th agreement on redundancy terms for the staff.

Mandate divisional organiser Joe Donnelly said the staff reluctantly accepted redundancy on August 31st but were yet to receive payment.

Mr Donnelly said this was “extremely unfair,” adding that some of the staff had started to experience difficulty with mortgage repayments.

While the club itself is now closed, Mr Donnelly said Mandate will be placing pickets around UCD in an attempt to encourage the Bar Committee to fulfil its obligations.

Last week Mr Donnelly wrote to Dr Brady, urging him to intervene in the situation as “a matter of urgency”. Mr Donnelly said he had not received a response from the UCD president.

UCD Students’ Union president Rachel Breslin, a member of the Bar Committee, said the committee “completely intends and will meet redundancy obligations”.

Ms Breslin said that as well as the €215,000 redundancy payments, the committee also owed in excess of €500,000 to other creditors.

She described the situation as difficult because the Student Club is insolvent. The committee is currently in discussions with the university to “figure out a way of getting the money”.

The club hopes to come to a resolution in “the next few days and weeks… as soon as possible,” she said.

The closure of the Student Club earlier this year left the UCD campus without a bar. In 2010, construction work forced the closure of the Centre Club bar, five years after the closure of another bar in the campus’s sports centre.