Chris Birrell, president of the GUU, told Guardian that the union was losing a lot of money on utility bills and facing another year of financial hardship as a result:
He said: “The major problem facing the GUU this year is managing our rising utilities costs. The cost of oil and electricity has sky rocketed, and with such a large building and inefficient old oil boiler, we are losing a lot of money. We are currently working with the University in addressing these problems.”
Birrell confirmed that there had been cutbacks in staff, but was unwilling to expand upon the particulars of the matter.
He said: “Just before the summer there were some staffing cuts. This was a necessary measure in cost saving ongoing for the Glasgow University Union.
“It is GUU policy not to go into detail on the subject of staffing changes.”
Birrell was able show some optimism for the coming year but was again unable to go into specifics:
“Following the staffing cuts, the 2008 to 2009 budget is looking a lot better.”
This development came following the news that the GUU had lost £650,000 in the past two years, and had received a £150,000 bail out from the University. The University Court had noted at the end of the last academic year that this was mainly due to financial mismanagement and a lack of adequate governance over that period.
It was also noted in the minutes of the meeting of the last University Court that the Union would be required to reform its business model.
The document says: “The Union would be required to provide a realistic plan for a financially sustainable future.”