University of Sheffield pledges to minimise disruption to lectures during wave of strikes

The University of Sheffield.
The University of Sheffield.

The University of Sheffield has pledged to keep disruption to lectures to an 'absolute minimum' after staff revealed a wave of strike action.

Lecturers and other staff are staging the industrial action in a row over pensions that will see them walk out for a total of 14 days over the course of four weeks in February and March.

The action is expected to cause disruption to student lectures but the university has pledged to do everything possible to minimise the impact.

READ MORE: BREAKING NEWS: SAheffield university strike to hit lectures for up to four weeks
The institution also called for union members taking the action to get back around the negotiating table in a bid to find a solution.

A university spokesperson said: "We understand that many staff are concerned about the proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme pension and that this is reflected in a vote for industrial action nationally and here in Sheffield.

“USS, like many pension schemes, is facing challenges and we understand that changes to the scheme are necessary for it to remain affordable and sustainable.

"However, we are encouraging the employer ​and trade union/UCU representatives to return to the table and commit to talks beyond the current timetable to enable all involved to try to seek a way forward which works for all parties.

"Industrial disputes in higher education are always challenging for university staff, who are committed to their students, work colleagues and research activities. We will, however, do our utmost to ensure our students are not affected by any potential industrial action and that any disruption is kept to an absolute minimum."

The university is among 61 institutions across the country which is taking action after negotiations between the University and College Union and the university's representative Universities UK broke down.

READ MORE: Sheffield lecturers to go on strike
The union said the dispute centres on Universities UK’s proposal to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme pension scheme, which would leave a typical lecturer almost £10, 000 a year worse off.

There are around 1, 300 UCU members at Sheffield made up of lecturers, researchers, student advisors, librarians and admissions staff. 89 per cent of the members who voted backed strike action on a turnout of 64 per cent.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "Strike action on this scale has not been seen before on UK campuses, but universities need to know the full scale of the disruption they will be hit with if they refuse to sort this mess out."

READ MORE: Sheffield lecturers to go on strike
UCU members will strike on February 22 and February 23 and for three days between February 26 and 28.

This will be followed by four days of action between March 5 and March 8, and a full week between March 12 and March 16.