Sheffield TUC supports University lecturers and academic staff taking 14 days of escalating strike action
SHEFFIELD NEEDS A PAY RISE!
Sheffield Trade Union Council offers its full support to UCU members at University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University who are embarking on up to 14 days of strike action commencing Thursday 20th February. It could involve up to 3000 staff taking strike action against declining pay and conditions, the prevalence of short term contracts and heavy workloads, plus a further issue of escalating pension costs for University of Sheffield employees.
“UCU members should be congratulated for standing up together and saying we won’t accept this any more!” said Martin Mayer, Sheffield TUC Secretary. “Right across the nation, University lecturers and academic staff have seen their pay decline in real terms as year on year pay rises have been non-existent or below inflation. For far too many lecturers, there is not even a permanent contract on offer – just short term zero hours contracts which don’t even pay them properly for the many hours they have to put in. When the academic year ends, they have no idea if they have a job at all” said Martin Mayer.
UCU members at Sheffield Hallam University are also engaged in their own separate dispute, running concurrently with the national dispute over pay and conditions. “UCU reps have told me how their members are suffering stress from excessive workload as the “paid hours” do not cover essential time with students, lecture preparation, marking etc. which can take the working week up to 60 hours and beyond. On top of that there is a shortage of staff so existing staff are further overworked” said Martin Mayer. “Hallam University bosses need to sit down with the UCU and work out a realistic solution to solve these problems” he added.
UCU members at University of Sheffield are also involved in a serious national fight to protect their pension entitlement under the USS Pension Scheme. “Last year UCU members at the so-called Red Brick Universities fought back successfully against University bosses’ plans to axe their final salary pension scheme. But now the bosses are demanding much higher pension contributions as the price for their victory – even though many analysts say these pension hikes are unnecessary” said Martin Mayer. “You can’t expect your employees to cough up huge extra pension contributions when their wages have already been declining in real terms” he added.
“Sheffield TUC calls on university bosses to put the funding back into their best resource – their highly professional academic staff without whom there would be no students, no learning and no income for the universities” added Martin Mayer.
Strike days have been set for Thursday 20th and Friday 21st of February, Monday 24th to Wednesday 26th of February, Monday 2nd to Thursday 5th of March and Monday 9th to Friday 13th of March. These are national dates set by UCU which will affect more than 60 universities across the nation.
Messages of support can be sent to Sheffield TUC via our email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass them on to both UCU branches.
Martin Mayer is Secretary of Sheffield TUC. He can be contacted on 0776 107 8482
There are two main UCU branches representing lecturers and academic staff on strike. They are UCU 70 University of Sheffield Branch and UCU Sheffield Hallam University Branch. Both participated fully and actively in last year’s strikes on the same issues. They both experienced an upsurge in membership as a result of their stance.
Both UCU branches are actively affiliated to Sheffield Trade Union Council.