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Students demand refunds after lectures cancelled

Strike at Sheffield University.  Pickets outside the Hicks Building.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Strike at Sheffield University. Pickets outside the Hicks Building. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Students are demanding refunds from Sheffield’s universities - after lectures and seminars were cancelled because of strike action.

Undergraduates are being urged by their student union to complain directly by email to Vice Chancellors Professor Keith Burnett and Phil Jones if their studies were disrupted.

They are being advised to claim a refund of £60, the equivalent of one day’s tuition fees as students are now charged up to £9,000 a year.

Lecturers and support staff walked out on Tuesday as part of a national dispute over pay - with unions saying a 1% offer is an effective salary cut for the fifth year in a row.

Both universities and further education institutions including Sheffield College were affected.

Students at Sheffield University say in the past cash saved through not paying the wages of striking staff was instead directed to a student union hardship fund - but this is no longer happening. The university says instead the money saved will be returned to departmental budgets ‘to enhance the student experience’.

Staff from the city’s two universities and Sheffield College held a rally in Barker’s Pool as part of a national day of action by the University and College Union, Unison and Unite. Mike Henderson, Hallam UCU branch secretary, said: “Staff do not want to go on strike and lose more money, but the failure of employers to respond to our negotiators is forcing us to take action.”

 

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