Sheffield students face strike action disruption as university dispute continues

Strike action by the University and Colleges Union (UCU) has continued to affect Sheffield students this week in a long running dispute over pay and conditions.

University staff walked out today as part of 18 days of planned strike action across February and March.

Staff on strike are campaigning for a pay rise close to inflation and a reverse of pension cuts.

A professor of philosophy at the University of Sheffield, who didn’t want to give his name, said: “It seems reasonable to expect our pay not to decline year on year.”

He added: “It is difficult for employers, but they don’t seem very sympathetic.”

Joe, a politics student in Sheffield who didn’t want to give his surname, said: “I’m pretty aware of the issues and I think it would be quite difficult not to support the strikes.

“It’s hard to say whether I’d be of a different opinion if I’d had loads of lectures cancelled”

Sophie, a languages and culture student, has had “quite a lot” of her teaching disrupted.

But she said: “I think the strikes are quite upsetting because our teachers are brilliant and they’re not being properly compensated for their skills and labour.”

The UCU has asked its members to take strike action on the following dates:

  • 1 February
  • 9 and 10 February
  • 14,15, and 16 February
  • 21, 22, and 23 February
  • 27 and 28 February
  • 1 and 2 March
  • 16 and 17 March
  • 20, 21, and 22 March

In a statement, Jo Grady, the General Secretary of the UCU, said: “Our staff are striking because they are sick of being denied a decent pay rise, secure employment, and proper pensions.

“And students are standing with us because they know that staff working conditions are their learning conditions.”

Director of HR at the University of Sheffield, Ian Wright, said in an email to staff: “The next few weeks will undoubtedly be challenging – whether you are taking part in industrial action or not.

“I know that the decision to take action is not taken lightly and we fully respect people’s right to do so. Whatever your position, please continue to foster a supportive University community for all.”

The UCU have rejected the Universities and Colleges Employers Association’s (UCEA) latest offer and are planning to reballot their members on the current disputes.

Written by Matthew Galloway

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