THERE were picket lines outside every department at Sheffield University’s many buildings yesterday morning with striking lecturers and staff determined to fight until they beat the attack on their pay, pensions and working conditions.
Sheffield is also embroiled in a local dispute where the entire Archaeology department is being shut down and staff threatened with redundancy.
Nicola Dempsey, University and College Union (UCU) member in the Landscape Department brought her dog to the picket, she told News Line: ‘The ongoing drip, drip of lack of respect for students from the management has driven us to this.
‘We need to make our universities a great place for new academics to come into.
‘Instead, we are seeing many of our colleagues leaving because of excessive workloads.
‘Some are even leaving the country. Striking is what it takes and that is why we must continue.’
Graham Williams, a UCU member teaching English, said: ‘For the past year the university management have been threatening to close the whole Archaeology Department down.
‘All staff were threatened with redundancy.
‘There were other options. To keep it as it was or close the department and redeploy some staff.
‘UCU opposes the cut, we have balloted and we are in dispute.
‘The Archaeology Department is currently not taking on any new students.’
Researcher Ben Purvis, also in the UCU, said: ‘We are all fed up. You see it everywhere, in all departments.
‘I am new to the sector and have only been two years in the job and there have been so many of us who are burning out.
‘We are just overworked and underpaid.
‘The way the marketisation of education is going it is like the university exists just to pump out degree certificates for students, especially international students.
‘This comes down to government policy, and instead of university leaders pushing back, they are going along with it.’