Image may contain: Parade, Crowd, Person, People, Human

Here’s what happened on the first day of strikes at the University of Sheffield

Even a dog came out to support the strikes

Students and staff this morning marched across the University of Sheffield campus to show support for the striking lecturers.

They marched under banners which said, “save staff pensions” and “solidarity forever”. A group of approximately thirty students also went from building to building on campus to join groups of striking lecturers and UCU members.

Chants such as “UCU, here us say, we support you all the way!” and “Students and workers, unite and strike!” bellowed out first from the Arts Tower, then the Dainton Building, then the Jessop West and finally the Diamond.

Image may contain: Parade, Crowd, Person, People, Human

Students and UCU members picketing outside the Arts Tower

George Bunn, currently running for election as the Education Officer for the Students’ Union, emphasised the disparity between Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett’s salary and “in-job benefits” and promised that, if elected, he would “challenge university structures”.

Image may contain: Parade, Person, Human, Crowd

The main entrance to Jessop West this morning

Image may contain: Flooring, Loft, Indoors, Housing, Building, Apartment, Furniture, Couch

University buildings are practically deserted, suggesting the pickets are effective

Striking UCU members outside told me that their salaries had been reduced by 16 per cent over the past decade and that the plan by UUK, their employers, to invest a large portion of their pensions in stocks and shares was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

Also noting the Vice-Chancellor’s large salary, the striking lecturers urged him to “do what he knows is right”. The UCU is not just made up of lecturers: doctoral students who lead tutorials were also out in force, noting that they also stand to lose from the ongoing reforms which they say may “threaten the very future of academia”.

Image may contain: Police, Officer, Military Uniform, Military, Parade, Crowd, Woman, Girl, Female, Blonde, Person, People, Human

UCU members picketing outside the Western Bank Library

Last and by no means least, several striking members had brought their dogs wearing UCU-branded jackets along. Unfortunately, the dogs were not available for comment…

Image may contain: Person, People, Human

Some pickets had canine companions