Credit: Becca Luke

Frustration for GUSA Clubs and their members as strikes disrupted sports schedules

By Natasha Coyle

The strikes by three different unions have resulted in facility closures that have directly impacted GUSA clubs and their members.

After calling their members to strike in the latter half of September, Unite, UNISON, and College Union Glasgow (UCUG), the industrial action has resulted in the closure of University-owned sports facilities. This has included The Stevenson Building and Garscube Sports Complex.

With many clubs having to delay their taster sessions for potential new members and the training schedules of current members, industrial action has frustrated a number of students. Whilst some GUSA clubs outsource their facilities beyond the University, most GUSA clubs rely on The Stevie and Garscube for their training and matches.

Alex Easson, Women’s Olympic Weightlifting Captain for Glasgow University Weightlifting Club (GUWC), stated: “From a captain’s point of view, the strikes have been very frustrating as we have had to cancel taster sessions for our new members.

“We also cannot train in the gym that we pay a membership for so all of our training has been disrupted. We follow a very regimented training programme and it can be challenging to make up lost time,” Alex stated.

“We understand the reasons for the strikes and wish all the best in terms of resolution of worker’s issues, however, a solution must be made in order to stop disruptions to our training. It means a lot to us and it’s a huge part of all of our lives. Especially in the run up to competitions, we would really appreciate a reliable training space.”

GUWC Secretary Emerence Sepulchre issued a statement on behalf of the club: “The Weightlifting Club appreciates that the ongoing strikes are taking place for a variety of reasons. Our comments are in no way a complaint.

“We rely heavily on the Stevenson Building being open as Powerlifting and Olympic Weightlifting are sports that are centred around the gym and strength training. The closure of the facilities has been frustrating for members due to inability to complete required training sessions. Most members use the facilities between three-six times a week. Hence, the closure of sport facilities has affected both the club’s and individual members’ training schedules. This is especially difficult for beginners and members that compete as they require regular training for optimal strength building and recovery.

“We sympathise and share the strikers’ frustrations. The fact that other parties are affected by the strikes highlights the need for the University to take immediate action and come to an agreement with striking unions.”

Whilst GUWC’s sessions take place mainly in The Stevenson Building, other clubs already outsourced their training sessions to other facilities due to lack of space. Glasgow University Badminton Club (GUBC) train and run recreational sessions at a number of venues including Kelvinhall, Glasgow Academy, and Scotstoun. However, the strikes have significantly impacted GUBC’s taster and trial sessions for their BUCS teams.

“It’s potentially the worst time of year for strikes to be happening for us,” said Ramsay Newell, GUBC Captain. “In the way that it affects memberships, the first couple weeks of the semester are when you push for memberships and with multiple days a week where our uni sports facility is closed, it’s harder to encourage people to join badminton. We are lucky that our larger recreational sessions are at Kelvinhall and Glasgow Academy. But if those had been cancelled, we’d be in much more trouble.

“The smaller impact of the strikes is on team trials. A few of our trials have had to be rescheduled and you really don’t get much time to get a team together before the first BUCS matches. We won’t really know if it’s affected us to a significant extent either until all the memberships come through or maybe till the end of the year.

“I could imagine if other clubs relied more on The Stevie facilities in the past couple of weeks that it might’ve impacted them more than it has us,” he said.

There is a clear sentiment that students empathise with the causes spurring industrial action. Yet, the frustration caused by the strikes is having a knock-on effect for sports clubs, their members, and the dedicated volunteers who help coordinate them. 


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