Staff Call for Food Banks as Cost of Living Rises Absurdly

Due to the rising cost of living, many young academics and university support workers struggle to afford adequate meals. In response, some staff members call for their respective universities to set up on-campus food banks.

 

The University and College Union (UCU) reports that as food and energy prices have steadily risen, more and more university employees are having difficulty making ends meet. Those most affected are typically casual or earn low wages in positions such as porters or cleaners.

 

At Leeds, a member of the Russell Group of leading universities, some staff members have spoken out about their struggles, saying that they can’t afford to eat properly because the food served on campus is too expensive. In addition, they point out that the cost of living, in general, has been rising steadily, making it even harder to make ends meet.

Food Bank

The UCU calls on universities to do more to support their employees, especially those most vulnerable. They suggest setting up on-campus food banks would be a good first step in helping those in need.

 

One of the staff members who spoke out is quoted as saying: “Another morning where I wake up hungry because I couldn’t eat enough last night. During the pandemic, I survived on two or three meals of plain rice a day.”

 

Another said: “This Tuesday, I attended my appointment to collect a waste food hamper from a charity. I do this every fortnight, so I can make ends meet. No savings in any month.”

 

A third staff member, a young academic, said: “This winter, my flat was so cold that I bought myself a pair of gloves to wear while working. Turning the heating on was too expensive.”

 

These stories highlight the need for universities to do more to support their employees. The UCU is calling on universities to set up on-campus food banks so that struggling people can access the food they need. This would be a practical and tangible way for universities to show that they care about their employees and are committed to supporting them during these difficult times.

 

In response to the high food prices on campus, some students have started a petition calling for the university to provide more affordable options. The petition has gathered over 1,000 signatures so far.

 

This story highlights the need for universities to do more to support their employees. The UCU is calling on universities to set up on-campus food banks so that struggling people can access the food they need. This would be a practical and tangible way for universities to show that they care about their employees and are committed to supporting them during these difficult times.

Jo Grady, general secretary of the UCU, said: “It is inexcusable that low wages from university and college bosses have forced education staff into using food banks, and it is an indictment of the entire sector that has held down pay for far too long.”

 

UCU members at 20 universities have been boycotting marking and assessment in protest at pension cuts, pay and working conditions, although in recent days, Leeds has settled its dispute.

 

Ruth Holliday, professor of gender and culture at the university, said: “It makes me feel angry and slightly ashamed to hear people are working in my university who can’t afford food. It’s just desperately unfair. Universities need to pay people enough to live.”

PhD student at Birmingham University, who did not want to be named in case it harmed her job prospects, said: “Food and electricity bills are a big worry. I have very quick showers, and at the weekend, I come in and work on campus because I’m scared to use too much electricity.”

 

She added: “My students have no idea I don’t get enough money for teaching them. It’s a battle to make my rent. I’d love to be in a position where I’m not just surviving all the time. It’s incredibly stressful.”

 

The UCU calls on universities to do more to support their employees, especially those most vulnerable. They suggest setting up on-campus food banks would be a good first step in helping those in need.

 

This would be a practical and tangible way for universities to show that they care about their employees and are committed to supporting them during these difficult times.

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