Lecturers at Sheffield Hallam claim the university is paying £300,000 to sponsor this summer’s Tour de France – at a time when staff remain locked in a bitter dispute over a one per cent pay rise.
Hallam officials say they aren’t allowed to confirm the figure under the terms of their contract with the race - but claim the investment will be repaid many times over.
National negotiations over the pay dispute resume next Wednesday, with lecturers’ union the UCU threatening a boycott of students’ exams, dissertations and other assignments from April 28 as a ‘final sanction’.
Hallam Vice-Chancellor Professor Philip Jones has written to all students ahead of the Easter break saying measures would be put in place to minimise any disruption.
But staff are angry at Hallam’s expenditure on the Tour de France after university employers said anything more than a one per cent pay rise was ‘unaffordable’.
Hallam UCU branch secretary Mike Henderson said lecturers had received cuts in their pay in real terms every year since 2008.
A spokesman for Hallam said: “The assessment boycott is not yet a certainty, and we hope the universities’ national pay negotiating body and the trades unions will resolve the dispute and avoid this action in their continuing negotiations.”
Sheffield University also said it had plans in place to ensure any disruption was kept to an absolute minimum.