Sheffield’s University strikes enter fifth day in row over pensions and working conditions

University of Sheffield staff have started their fifth day of striking with the dispute set to roll on into next week. 

Staff retreated from the picket lines today due to weather conditions in the row over pension cuts, pay, equality and job security. 

The UCU, University and college union, declared 10 days of strikes over a three week period in which 44 universities across the UK will take part. This includes both the University of Sheffield as well as Sheffield Hallam University.  

Dr Abigail Stevely, 27, University of Sheffield Research associate said: “They’re cutting our pension budget by 40% for no reason.

“When people’s lecturers are overworked and they don’t have time to prepare how they would like to prepare and stress for marking and over tired that’s going to affect students’ learning.”

The reasons for the strike are over the USS which many university staff members are seeing cuts to pensions. 

The other reason for the strikes is four fights which include issues of pay equality, unsafe workloads and job security. There will also be a marking and assessment strike.  

This week universities have striked Monday to Friday over the USS dispute. Next week strikes will be from Monday to Tuesday over pension cuts, pay equality and work conditions. 

The last week of strikes from Monday to Wednesday is over pay and working conditions. This strike coincides with NUS, National Union of Students, in which there is a student strike on Wednesday to support UCU strikes. 

At the University of Sheffield there are  groups of students who are occupying university buildings including Jessop West, The Arts tower, The Diamond and Hicks building. 

Ben Ughetti, 22, a politics student from The University of Sheffield said: “It’s not a shock that students have felt that their last resort is to occupy university buildings given the significance of the archaeology department being closed down.

“Years of important research could come to an end due to the university wanting to save some cash”. 

Some students were concerned over cancelled teaching sessions. 

Maria Webb, 18, a politics student from The University of Sheffield, said: “On a serious note if a student wants to go to a lecture they should be able to do so, they have paid for it, and they’re old enough to make their own decisions”. 

Written by Louise Armstrong

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