University of Sheffield pledges to minimise disruption to lectures during wave of strikes

The University of Sheffield has pledged to keep disruption to lectures to an 'absolute minimum' after staff revealed a wave of strike action.

Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 9:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 9:20 am
The University of Sheffield.

Lecturers and other staff are staging the industrial action in a row over pensions that will see them walk out for a total of 14 days over the course of four weeks in February and March.

The action is expected to cause disruption to student lectures but the university has pledged to do everything possible to minimise the impact.

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A university spokesperson said: "We understand that many staff are concerned about the proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme pension and that this is reflected in a vote for industrial action nationally and here in Sheffield.

“USS, like many pension schemes, is facing challenges and we understand that changes to the scheme are necessary for it to remain affordable and sustainable.

"However, we are encouraging the employer ​and trade union/UCU representatives to return to the table and commit to talks beyond the current timetable to enable all involved to try to seek a way forward which works for all parties.

"Industrial disputes in higher education are always challenging for university staff, who are committed to their students, work colleagues and research activities. We will, however, do our utmost to ensure our students are not affected by any potential industrial action and that any disruption is kept to an absolute minimum."

The university is among 61 institutions across the country which is taking action after negotiations between the University and College Union and the university's representative Universities UK broke down.

There are around 1, 300 UCU members at Sheffield made up of lecturers, researchers, student advisors, librarians and admissions staff. 89 per cent of the members who voted backed strike action on a turnout of 64 per cent.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "Strike action on this scale has not been seen before on UK campuses, but universities need to know the full scale of the disruption they will be hit with if they refuse to sort this mess out."

This will be followed by four days of action between March 5 and March 8, and a full week between March 12 and March 16.