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‘What a f***ing joke’: We asked Sheffield students about the UCU strikes

‘It’s irresponsible’

Students across both Sheffield universities are set to face cancelled classes and disruption to deadlines this week as staff strike amid dispute over staff pensions, working conditions and pay.

The 14 days of walkouts between February 20 and March 13 are the third wave of disruption by the University and College Union (UCU), following 8 days of action that took place last year and a fortnight of strikes in 2018.

We spoke to students in Sheffield to find out how they feel about it – and it appears many are not happy with further disruption to their studies.

A third-year architecture student at the University of Sheffield told us: "I am angry about the strikes. Their pension isn't my problem, yet I'm the one that is missing out".

One Sheffield Hallam student has taken to Twitter to express her concerns about not being able to finish her degree due to the strikes "what a fucking joke my uni is, 14 days of strike weeks after a 10 day strike. Never gonna get my degree at this rate!! #sheffieldunistrikes".

On the popular confessions page for Sheffield students "Sheffessions" one student wrote "If these strikes go ahead we will have lost a whole semester across our degrees".

Isabel Jezierska, a student at the University of Sheffield commented on the post saying "many of us support our lecturers who choose to take industrial action to protect their – and our – futures and interests. However, we feel that the University of Sheffield should compensate us".

Jezierska has started a petition to uni bosses which has so far amassed more than 400 signatures, and has written an open letter calling for compensation.

A Tab Sheffield poll of 274 Sheffield students and graduates found 60 per cent oppose the upcoming strike, and 91 per cent said they wanted compensation.

#Sheffession8594If these strikes go ahead we will have lost a whole semester across our degrees

Posted by Sheffessions on Thursday, February 6, 2020

Lawrence Boyce, a second year student at Hallam told us he understands why the strikes are happening but believes this action is irresponsible and detrimental to students, he says "it is irresponsible for lecturers to be striking for a second time, this is going to have a direct affect on results and academic success. We are paying for this so we deserve compensation".

However, some students are in support of striking lecturers. Jack Stott, a second year General Engineering student at the University of Sheffield is urging students not to be angry with their lecturers.

He said: "Please don't be angry at the staff striking. Yes, you may be wanting £800 worth of lectures back, but compare that to the £240,000 that the average UCU member will lose due to pension cuts. No one ever wants to strike but over the last few years there have been cuts that have been accepted by staff. They need to say when enough is enough, which is now."

For information on how the strikes may affect you, contact your university.