‘They’re not treating it with any urgency’: Balloon Bar student staff haven’t been furloughed yet

‘How can they justify not paying their own student workers in a global pandemic?’


Student Balloon Bar staff at the University of Bristol have been left frustrated after receiving no direct communication regarding furlough from their employer, The Temporary Staffing Service (TSS), since closure.

The student staff were also denied access to the university wide staff live-stream on the 23rd April, and had to rely on their managers to transcribe information back to them.

These frustrations have intensified after an email announcement via UCAS from The Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, who said: “I wrote to universities on 26 March and asked that they pay particular attention to additional financial hardships being faced by student staff who have been reliant on income from campus-based jobs at this time.”

‘I’m just shocked and disappointed at the way the uni has handled the situation’

“A lot of us rely on the money we earn from the bar.” a Balloon Bar staff member, who chose to remain anonymous, told the Bristol Tab.

“I’m just shocked and disappointed at the way the uni has handled the situation. Just another prime example of Bristol ignoring what might be a small matter for them but is a very important decision for their students.”‘

‘To have had absolutely no contact or information about where we stand in terms of furlough is unacceptable’

“Of course we understand there’s a lot going on right now for the university” Student employee Milly told the Bristol Tab.

“But to have had absolutely no contact or information about where we stand in terms of furlough is unacceptable!”

‘How can they justify not paying their own student workers in a global pandemic?’

“It is symptomatic of the university’s continued lack of support for its students.” Another student worker, Thomas, told the Bristol Tab.

Thomas also said, “How can they justify not paying their own student workers in a Global pandemic?”

Student staff member, Becky, also commented: “I don’t feel like the university are treating the precarious financial position that unemployment causes with any urgency”

In response to these claims, a University of Bristol spokesperson said: “Student workers employed through our temporary staffing service fulfil important roles across the university and we are sorry if they feel that communication and decision making around this challenging and unprecedented situation has not been adequate.

“Our immediate priority has been to resolve any outstanding matters with our TSS employees where we have been working to support ongoing assignments.

“Where we have received individual enquiries from student workers, we have acknowledged these and are currently reviewing them. We are working to resolve these over the course of next week and will be back in touch once we have an outcome.

“Decisions around furloughing have to be considered on an individual basis because of the government rules.

“In addition, we’ve introduced extra funding to support students with things like loss of earnings resulting from Coronavirus. They can contact our Student Funding advisers ([email protected]) and they can help them to access the right support.”

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