EXCLUSIVE: Students occupy University of Sheffield building in solidarity with UCU strikes

Written by Emma Westray

A group of students has occupied a University of Sheffield building to show support for the Industrial Action taking place this week.

The 17 protesters, who study at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels, entered the Jessop West Building on campus yesterday at 5pm. The full length of their intended stay has not yet been disclosed.

The occupiers say: “We want managers to come to the table and except the demands of the UCU. They’re fair and reasonable”

The University and College Union (UCU) has been striking since Wednesday to campaign for better working hours pay and pensions, after further cuts have been made post-pandemic.

Members have been gathering outside different buildings on campus, saying not enough changes have been made since the previous round of strikes, which ended in February 2020.

Those currently in Jessop West, emphasise the importance of solidarity, saying they want to support lecturers in the same way that they have been throughout their education.

“This demonstrates that students are really in union with university lecturers and staff; like they’ve been behind us in the past”

In particular, they’re looking to highlight perceived injustices put in place by the University Management, and want the Student Union to act on the motion passed this week which calls for more widespread support.

The occupiers also highlight the alleged gender pay gap and other financial inequalities, saying that a university who claims to be inclusive should not be offering different wages for those occupying similar jobs.

Today is the last day of UCU’s three day strike, and picket lines can be found across the Uni of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam campuses.

See video below: UCU strikes across Sheffield campuses – YouTube

Written by Emma Westray

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