24 April 2008

GUU in 'serious financial trouble'

  • Executive forced to ask for bail-out
  • Bar closures discussed in crisis talks
The future of the Glasgow University Union (GUU) is under threat as the Board of Management looks set to declare bankruptcy at the end of this month.
GUU President Chris Birrell has admitted that bar closures have become an option as the Board struggles to deal with financial troubles that have escalated out of control in recent years.
Board members will not know the full extent of the Union's financial troubles until accounts are finalised on April 30th, but Guardian has learned that student leaders are in crisis talks with the University to request an emergency cash injection as a last ditch attempt to secure the Union's survival for the immediate future. The GUU has completely exhausted its financial reserves after several consecutive years of losses..
A source close to the Board of Management predicted that the current crisis could be the beginning of the end for Glasgow’s oldest union.

She said: “They’re really ruined, worse than ever. They’re struggling to pay the staff, and if their cash situation doesn’t improve pretty quickly I think they’ll have to shut down.”

The GUU reported a loss of £148,000 in the last year for which accounts are available, and Union sources have predicted that the losses announced this month will dwarf the problems in recent years.


Lindsey said...

Great article, it's not exactly surprising they're in debt, the board totally looks after itself. they could save loads of money if the didnt take so much free drink for themselves.

Would be sad to seeit totally go bust though - have had many a good night in the hive.

Anonymous said...

No wonder. And rumours a bound of a new club night at the QMU to rival the hive...

Laura said...

REally? the qm's a crap night out though compared with the hive. It's actually impossible to get served.

Jean said...

That's a shame.

Maybe they could curb back on all the frebreeze that so effectively masks the smell of pee.


Anonymous said...

The GUU's situation has been precipitated entirely by the University's decision to cut the block grant three years ago. Its overheads are far greater than the QM's (bigger building in a far greater state of disrepair).

To say that it's entirely the Board's fault betrays a lack of understanding of the situation - they've cut back a hell of a lot in the past few years, it's not the gravy train it used to be.

BM's put a lot of hours into the running of the building, and even if they did it for nothing at all, the situation wouldn't be much different. You're talking a difference of a few thousand pounds when the gap, as stated is nearer £150k (the amount by which the Uni cut the block grant).

Put yourself in their shoes - would you work 25+ hours a week on the Exec. or as a Convenor alongside a part-time job and a full-time degree for nothing? I doubt it.

Chris Watt (editor) said...

In response to the above comment:

Would I work 25+ hours per week for nothing, alongside a part time job and a full time degree? Well yes; that is exactly my situation, and it's the same for the other Guardian editors...

Anonymous said...

Watt - as previously stated, the removal of all provision of food, drink and other allowances for BM's would make for a negligible improvement in the GUU's financial situation - a point you conveniently choose to ignore.

These allowances go some way towards rewarding the significant commitment required of BM's; the lack of them in the case of the Guardian (notably a non-commercial, SRC-funded venture with no financial pressures whatsoever) would perhaps explain why you're having trouble finding a successor as editor.

The sheer ignorance of your opinion - that a ~£150k funding gap can be easily plugged within three years - is embarrassing. What's the right answer? Where have the GUU went wrong? What are they missing that's so blatantly obvious to you?

To say that the QMU have succeeded under similar circumstances doesn't fly for the reasons given previously - they, too, have posted deficits since 05/06, albeit on a smaller scale to the GUU. In the long term, this will prove as unsustainable for them as it has the GUU.

Anonymous said...

Sorry anonymous you are talking rubbish. The QMU have posted small deficits. The GUU actually lost over half a million pounds in the last year and about £200,000 the year before.That's actually quite a bit more than the QMU's minimal losses. I think a few thousand percent more.

Wise up