Today, on Monday 25 November, staff at the University of Sheffield have gone on strike for the second time in two years, over issues including changes to their pensions, the casualisation which is taking hold in universities, and pay equality.
A couple of weeks ago, Students’ Union Council voted almost unanimously to encourage the SU to actively support striking workers, while also prioritising the welfare of students in Sheffield.
At Forge Press, we decided to hold our own vote on whether or not to support those lecturers and support staff heading on strike and I am pleased to say we voted in favour of supporting them.
We know they don’t do this without it being their last resort, but their working conditions are our learning conditions, and we believe that students should stand up and support their lecturers, support staff and more.
As a group of students with a huge platform, we believe it is our duty to voice our concerns about changes to pensions which could see staff short-changed thousands of pounds, and pay rising below the rate of inflation, leaving them out of pocket.
We understand why some students may choose not to support striking workers. This is likely to be a contentious period, but we’d urge you to support those in your department who go on strike.
Don’t be in any doubt we’ll report on the strikes in an independent capacity, fulfilling our role as the student newspaper. But we believe that we should also back our striking workers, showing them they have our full support and we – as well as countless other students – are on their side.
Ben Warner, Forge Press Editor-in-Chief