The University of Sheffield is set for another round of strike action, as the University and College Union have announced members in 74 institutions will go on strike for 14 more days in February and March.

This follows on from eight previous days of strike action, which took place in late November, on two different issues. Members of the UCU were balloted over pay and conditions, and again on the USS pension scheme, and the University of Sheffield’s branch is one of 47 which voted for strike action over both issues. Sheffield Hallam University’s branch will also be striking, but only over the pay and conditions ballot.

More institutions are going on strike than during the previous ballot, as 14 further universities passed the 50 per cent turnout threshold required by law for strike action to take place.

Staff at the University of Sheffield are currently striking over two UCU ballots: one on changes to pension schemes, and one on pay equality, casualization and workload. (Image: Ben Warner)

The strike action will begin on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February, with further action taking place on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday the following week. The week after that, members will strike from 2 to5 March, while the week after – the final week of the strike action – they will be out on all five days from 9 to 13 March.

The UCU includes a large number of both academic and support staff, and the union says around a million students were affected during the previous action. Due to the 14 additional institutions this time, that number is set to jump by another 200,000.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “We have seen more members back strikes since the winter walkouts and this next wave of action will affect even more universities and students. If universities want to avoid further disruption they need to deal with rising pension costs, and address the problems over pay and conditions.

UCU General Secretary Dr Jo Grady speaking in Sheffield in November. (Image: Ben Warner)

“We have been clear from the outset that we would take serious and sustained industrial action if that was what was needed. As well as the strikes next month, we are going to ballot members to ensure that we have a fresh mandate for further action to cover the rest of the academic year if these disputes are not resolved.”

The UCU say they will re-ballot members if their concerns are not dealt with following the strike action, as the previous ballot’s results are only valid until the end of April.

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