Petition launched following Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union’s sweeping staff cuts

‘The proposals could not come at a worse time’

A petition has been launched in protest over proposals to slash staff numbers at Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union.

It demands a stop to all redundancies and asks the university to listen to alternative proposals.

30 members of staff, who aren’t casual workers and come from the permanent pool, have been warned they’re at risk of redundancy.

Dan Bye, the branch secretary from Sheffield Hallam UNISON, said: “You can’t underestimate how hard Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union staff have worked through the pandemic.

“This is an absolute betrayal that would see staff made unemployed in the middle of the largest recession to ever hit the UK. As a policy, UNISON does not accept compulsory redundancies. We are working with members on alternative proposals to defend jobs and protect the future of Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union.”

The petition is nearing 300 signatures and claims Sheffield Hallam has underinvested for years, with longstanding staff dissatisfaction with the leadership and direction of the Students’ Union.

Although funded by Sheffield Hallam University, the Students’ Union is managed independently.

Management claims the proposals are necessary to increase student engagement, prioritise representation, and decrease operating costs.

But the staff, who are represented by the Trade Union UNISON, have argued the proposals will reduce face-to-face contact, impact student wellbeing and erode the student experience.

Unison SHU said: “The proposals could not come at a worse time for staff already feeling demoralised but working extremely hard for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you’re a current Hallam student, we would really appreciate it if you could leave a comment saying why you support this petition.”

Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union said it is responding to the “changing needs of students to increase its levels of engagement with members and have the resources to invest in its long term future.”

In a statement, they said: “The Students’ Union has the ambition to reach a diverse tech-savvy audience and react quickly to their needs. This equates to a change in priorities and practises, and a move towards digital services.

“As a response to these factors, the organisation is undergoing a strategic development process and intends to deliver services to suit the changing student circumstances.

“These changes have meant that very difficult staffing decisions are being made. A number of roles within the Students’ Union are now formally ‘at risk’, and we are working with our employees and their representatives to arrive at the best outcome under very difficult circumstances.

“We are hoping there will be a significant number of job roles that will be matched in to positions within the proposed new structure, in addition to new job roles being created for staff to consider.”

To sign the petition, visit here.

Featured image credit: P L Chadwick, labelled for reuse under this Creative Commons License.

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