Pensions protest at university open day

ProtestNW'Uniite and Unison members protest at Sheffield University over cuts to their pensions
ProtestNW'Uniite and Unison members protest at Sheffield University over cuts to their pensions

STAFF at the University of Sheffield demonstrated against a decision to end their final salary pension scheme at the university’s open day when 8,000 visitors were looking around.

It followed two one-day strikes as part of a union campaign over pension cuts that, it is argued, will leave hundreds of low-paid cleaners, security staff, estates and technical staff, many earning as little as £14,000 a year, facing a retirement “at poverty levels”.

More action is planned.

Unite national officer Mike Robinson said: “The university is treating some of its lowest-paid staff with utter callousness and disrespect. As well losing their jobs, our members now face substantial losses to their pensions as the scheme proposed could reduce benefits for a typical member by a quarter.”

A spokesperson for the university said it regretted action by Unison and Unite last Saturday, “when we are welcoming 8,000 visitors, including 4,500 prospective students and their parents to our busiest open day of the year.

The day was “a chance for prospective students to form an opinion both of the University and of the city of Sheffield as places to study and live. Whilst we support the unions’ right to peaceful protest, it is disappointing that they have chosen this day to hold their rally.”