University strike action enters second day in brutal weather

Staff from the University of Sheffield entered the second day of strike action today in their fight for decent pension payment.

Union members battled the bad weather on the picket lines that saw lectures and classes cancelled campus wide.

A lecturer of Material Science Engineering said: “We have music, we are dancing, we are trying to raise awareness of the pension fight. It is going well except the weather could be better.” The main reason for the strike today is the shrinkage of the pension. It has been cut by nearly 20%, and further cuts are proposed. I want to make sure that when I retire, I have some good money to live on.” 

Pablo Stern, member of the SUCU committee, who is already retired also joined the strike. He said: “I know how important a decent pension is.” 

According to many staff, it is necessary to stop the inadequate payment and pension to create better conditions for the future education. “I feel if we don’t strike,” said Tom Stafford from the Psychology Department, “ we will be treated worse and worse and the deal students get will be worse and worse, so we have to strike now.”

Pay inequality, job insecurity, rising workloads and pay devaluation have caused many problems for the University staff. Sheila Webber, senior lecturer in the information school, adds that those who didn’t join also have their struggle, it is stressful to decide to join the strike.

Both Dr.Alicia Forsberg, lecturer of Psychology department, and Dr Harriet Drouin, senior teaching technician, attribute the inaction of University employers to the reason that they treat higher education in the UK as profit business and prioritise making money.

Staff also express their sorry for causing distraction to students’ education and appreciate their support.

 “Teaching condition is the learning condition, those two go together.” said Pablo Stern. Staff believe that by improving the teaching environment, students could have a better education environment in the long term.

 

Written by Lisa Bradley

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