Staff at Sheffield Hallam vote for strike action over ‘vicious job cuts’

The university has been facing financial struggles for some time

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at Sheffield Hallam University have voted for strike action, after a ballot closed last week.

87 per cent of members voted to strike, with a 53 per cent turnout.

The vote comes as the university has cuts to 400 professional services jobs, after around 140 academics have already left as part of a voluntary severance scheme that opened at the end of last year.

Sheffield Hallam has experienced an extended period of financial difficulty, with the university being in a financial deficit for the last several years.

The UCU has pointed the finger at the large capital investments the university has made in recent years, including £200m spent on projects in Sheffield as well as a satellite campus in London.

A number of universities have made similar investments in London campuses, such as: UEA, Coventry University and the University of Sunderland.

Sir Chris Husbands, Hallam’s former Vice Chancellor, who left the university as the voluntary severance scheme opened last December was knighted in 2018 by Prince William for services to higher education.

Last year, a spokesperson for Sheffield Hallam UCU said Sir Chris had left the university in an “absolute diabolical situation.”

Sheffield Hallam’s struggles are mirrored throughout the higher education sector, with staff at the University of Lincoln also voting for strike action last week.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘Our members do not take the decision to strike lightly but Sheffield Hallam staff have voted for action because they cannot stand by and let management force though these outrageous cuts which would see teaching, research and academic standards torn to shreds.

‘It is disgraceful to see that rather than reviewing its spending on new buildings and a satellite campus halfway across the country, management would rather slash jobs, jeopardise academic standards, and tear up our hard-won terms and conditions. If university management do not stop these attacks on staff, they will face unprecedented disruption.’

Sheffield Hallam University has been contacted for comment.

Featured image via David White on Unsplash.

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