The UCU strike has kicked off with pickets around campus, with members of the Students’ Union joining University staff in campaigning against the proposed pensions changes.

Pickets were held outside major University buildings on the morning of Thursday 22 February, including the Diamond, Firth Court and Western Bank Library.

While they mainly consisted of staff, a contingent of SU members marched between the pickets, showing their support for the strike action.

Education Officer Stu McMillan said: “The Officers are out striking today because we support workers.

“What the people striking want is a decent future, not just for themselves, but for the education system as a whole.

“We believe that everyone deserves a secure future, and that’s what this is about.

“That’s why so many students are showing solidarity and joining pickets like these, because an injury to one is an injury to all.”

UCU members at the University are striking over changes to their pensions, which would see it based on investment performances rather than worker contributions. It is thought this could see some people lose up to £10,000 per year.

Dr Sam Marsh, Communications Officer for Sheffield UCU and University Teacher in the School of Mathematics and Statistics, said: “It’s heartening to see so many students joining in like this. This is an issue about the soul of education.

“It’s incredible what students are doing, the energy they have is providing great morale for the people striking.

“It is clear that their anger is directed at the right people – the management rather than the lecturers.”

Some of the candidates in the SU Officer Elections were present at the march between pickets. Lilian Jones (President), Katharine Swindells (Welfare), George Bunn (Education), Anna Crump Raiswell (Education), Tebby Maritim (International) and Mel Acquah (Women’s) were all joining in with chanting and holding banners.

14 days of strike action are expected to take place over the next few weeks, although the UCU have hinted it could last for longer.


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