PRESS RELEASE; Sunday 24th November 2019
Sheffield TUC stands fully in support of over 2000 lecturers and other academic staff at University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University taking part in 2 national UCU dispute and one local dispute at Hallam University.
Martin Mayer, Secretary of Sheffield TUC said “Lecturers are no longer the privileged well-paid staff of old. Today’s lecturers are often on zero hours contracts, poorly paid, denied proper annual pay rises, face heavy workloads and stress and some are being threatened yet again with big cuts to their pensions. It doesn’t have to be this way” added Martin Mayer. “We know the University sector has healthy surplus funds – and can afford to treat their workers much better than this!”
Lecturers at both Sheffield Universities are on strike on their UCU union’s national pay and conditions claim – seeking a real above inflation increase (RPI +3%) to make up for lost earnings following years of below inflation increases.
University of Sheffield lecturers are also on strike over a second attempt to strip them of some of their pensions benefits. Last time, University bosses had to back off when UCU members proved the pension fund was not in deficit at all but actually in surplus! In spite of this, University bosses are having another go at cutting pension benefits.
Lecturers at Sheffield Hallam University are also on strike in a local dispute over workload and stress issues. UCU representatives have been inundated with cases of lecturers facing sickness and mental health problems due to management’s hard-line approach, forcing lecturers to take more and more work on.
All 3 disputes are running concurrently – for now.
“Sheffield TUC calls on both of our Universities to stop mistreating our UCU brothers and sisters and settle these disputes favourably right away” said Martin Mayer. “The Higher Education sector is hugely important for Sheffield’s economy and UCU members play a vital role educating the future generation. University funding is in surplus and can easily afford to pay for proper pay rises, maintain the pension fund and ease off the workload.” Martin Mayer concluded by saying “We call on University bosses to recognise the genuine anger and frustration of their workforce, and settle these disputes now”