Employees of an embattled extramural students' society have been laid off, causing the union to close its doors and can its website.
The Manawatu Standard understands five Massey University Extramural Students Society (EXMSS) employees have been made redundant from their paid roles.
Massey spokesman James Gardiner confirmed the university was in negotiations with "several" union staffers about their futures.
"We're trying to make sure the EXMSS staff haven't been further disadvantaged from a situation that's out of their own hands," he said.
According to the society's 2012 Annual Report, it employs a student services manager and a communications manager, both fulltime, a change manager who works with the university on student engagement, a services support role and a communications assistant, all part-time.
Last week the university pulled all financial support for the student union after finding fault in its monthly reports.
Instead it said it would take care of the union's service responsibilities, which included advocacy and administration of hardship grants.
This left the society more than $150,000 out of pocket, according to its annual report, with a question mark over its day-to-day financial position and ability to pay workers' wages.
Former society employees, who asked to remain anonymous to preserve future job prospects, told the Standard workers were given a letter from the society's president, Jeannette "JV" Chapman, informing them of the job cuts.
The society's Greater Manawatu area representative, Anne Palmer, who deals with student services management, said she had been in employment discussions with the university recently, but wouldn't elaborate. It is unclear whether workers would be offered a redundancy payout.
Mr Gardiner said he could confirm workers would be offered temporary employment with the Manawatu campus registrar, Sandi Shillington, on roles that may relate to the society's former services.
In the meantime students frustrated by the society's troubles have taken to Facebook to voice their concerns about its job cuts, fearing this could be the end of the society.
The EXMSS website was pulled down last week and its office, at the Manawatu campus, was closed yesterday.
The latest development follows a raft of complaints about the embattled society and its president, Ms Chapman.
Ms Chapman has come under fire in the past few months, with an annual meeting failing to get a quorum, the resignation of executive members and questioning about allegations she earns more than $50,000 part-time through her honorarium.
She has been accused of "stone-walling" calls for a vote of no-confidence.
She could not be reached for comment yesterday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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