University staff who can’t afford to eat ask for campus food banks

Staff are asking universities to set up food banks because they are struggling with rising bills and say they cannot afford to eat properly. As food and energy prices rise, the University and College Union says young academics teaching on casual contracts and low-paid support workers such as porters and cleaners are finding themselves on the breadline. Some staff members at Leeds, a member of the Russell Group of leading universities, said they couldn’t afford adequate meals and called for a staff food bank on an anonymous message board last month. The online message board, seen by the Observer, was set up by students who occupied university buildings to protest at low staff pay. One staff member wrote: “Another morning where I wake up hungry because I couldn’t eat enough last night.” They added that they had survived on two or three meals of plain rice a day during the pandemic. A second anonymous university worker 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.” One young academic said: “This winter my flat was so cold that...

Read more