The fireworks at Trinity May BallLouis Ashworth

May Ball workers have experienced delays while waiting to be paid for the shifts they worked at the epic parties last term.

While workers at Homerton May Ball were reportedly paid on the 22nd July, over a month after the ball on the 17th of June, some workers at Kings and Trinity Hall say they haven’t received payment at all.

Alex Radford, President of the Trinity Hall June Event, explained the delay was because workers had to submit invoices because the committee is reliant on the college accountants to process the payments.

She told Varsity only workers yet to submit invoices have not been paid, although this is disputed by some students.

King’s Affair delayed the payment of its workers until 26th July, exactly five weeks after the ball, despite workers having submitted their bank details weeks in advance of the event.

The King’s Affair ticketing officer explained in an email: “bar staff payments have had to be processed through King’s College, not King’s Affair, because of licensing legalities”.

Sasha Grantham, personnel and security officer at Homerton May Ball, told Varsity their workers were also paid through the College accountants and not the committee itself.

He added that the committee "has always made certain that our workers have had complete transparency and awareness about when money owed will be coming into their bank accounts". 

One anonymous worker who is yet to be paid told Varsity: “Working a May week event can be fun, but that is never the reason why someone gives up a full night of their may week.

“For whatever reason, students need the money and it is frustrating that may balls and June Events have delayed payments for so long, particularly when it can leave students in financially precarious situations”.


Mountain View

Entitlement and cold pasta: Working at Trinity May Ball

Delays to payments have not been the only source of disappointment for student workers this year.

Workers at Christ’s were shocked to discover that they had been charged 20% tax on their pay slip. The committee apologised in a Facebook comment, blaming “certain college legal procedures (specific to Christs)” for the inconvenience.

Other students have spoken out about the working conditions at the events. John’s and Trinity have faced criticism, although both Colleges were reportedly among the first to pay their workers.

Student workers at John’s told Varsity they were treated “very poorly”. One source said that they were told that they couldn’t roam freely during breaks and if they took any food from the ball it would be deducted from their pay. Another said the College got “the staffing ratio and working conditions massively wrong”.

Alex Radford, who also chaired the 2020-2021 May Ball president’s committee, said: “With three years since the last May week, both student organisers and College staff are having to learn how to manage balls again. This is a learning curve and I hope that students can be understanding”.

King’s Affair was contacted for comment.