Chris MacRae, director of events and services elect, has been suspended from working in the Union either as a DJ or behind the bar.
This action was taken at a disciplinary meeting following an incident which involved breaking Union rules on drinking alcohol whilst DJing.
Mr MacRae, who is part of DJ duo NELFUN with friend Cameron Bell, explained what happened to The Saint. He said that the pair did not have a contract for DJing with the Union, although he does have a Union contract as a member of the bar staff.
Mr Bell told The Saint: “We were not technically fired from DJing since we did not have a contract, we were politely asked not to come back.”
Mr MacRae said that on every previous occasion, they had been allowed to drink whilst DJing as long as it was not near the equipment and was not to excess. However, on Wednesday 8 April, a message was passed down from senior management that they were not to drink at all. Each had one beer, he said, but stopped after this, following warnings.
Mr MacRae stated that he did not drink after this, but that Mr Bell went to the bar with a friend. He was then banned from returning to the decks and Mr MacRae continued alone. Having had quite a lot to drink, however, Mr Bell came back to attempt to DJ. His intoxication led to mistakes being made and the music cutting out, bringing the pair to the attention of management. Having ignored their warnings, they were called in for disciplinary actions.
Although he himself did not continue to drink, Mr MacRae said that it was “a stupid mistake” to let Mr Bell come back to the decks. Mr Bell admitted that he had deliberately drunk more because he had been told not to.
Mr Bell said: “I think the rules should have been clearer. Apparently there has always been a no drinking rule for DJs but a previous DJ duo ‘Tallent and Droscher’ had their drinks subsidised by the bar. A DJ contract would definitely clear up any confusion.
“Additionally, on several occasions we were asked to come in and DJ with less than 30 minutes of notice (due to miscommunications), sometimes when we were already on nights out. Once, when [Mr MacRae] and I were working behind the bar the arranged DJ never showed up and we had to step in and cover. When he finally showed up two hours late (drunk and smelling of weed) we were asked to step down.
“We never got paid for the DJing or the bar work that night. So if our bosses aren’t professional with us, how can they expect us to be? But from working for the Union for the last 18 months I have come to expect this lack of organisation and consistency.”
Mr MacRae is confident that this will not impact upon him taking up the role of DoES. He stated that when in the job, he would make sure DJ contracts are introduced.
Mr Bell thinks that DJs should be allowed to drink, stating that this is the norm in most other establishments and that, “I don’t know why the Union should be any different.”
“I must emphasise that it has to be in moderation,” he continued, “as you are working with expensive equipment and like any job must be professional.”
Mr MacRae also noted that the fact they had been allowed to drink had improved their DJing in the past, making them more involved in the atmosphere.
The pair were the resident DJs for Sinners and were then asked to DJ every Wednesday night. This incident occurred at their first non-Sinners event and Mr MacRae speculated that perhaps they were under Athletic Union rules whilst DJing Sinners and this is what caused the sudden change in policy.
Though they had to cancel their gig at the Union the following Wednesday, they were still allowed to DJ at Big Top Ball which is a Union run event.
A final decision on their suspension will be made when the Union’s general manager David Whitton returns from holiday. The Union’s human resources staff member who deals with disciplinary action, Iain Cupples, declined to comment.