Latest information about the industrial action

Joint meeting with UCU and Students’ Union, Tuesday 10 March 2020

On Tuesday 10 March 2020, our President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, met again with the Students’ Union (SU) and representatives from the local University and College Union (UCU) branch to discuss the current UCU strike action and what can be done to find a resolution to the national disputes.

The Students’ Union presented a range of questions gathered from students, particularly around mitigating the impacts of the strike action, potential impacts on assessments and the use of strike funds. The University took time to respond to each of these questions and committed to providing a written response to the Students’ Union Officers to share more broadly with the student body they represent.

The University stressed its primary focus is on mitigating the impact of the strike action and that it will be working closely with departments to do this, targeting the strike funds directly to where that effect of industrial action is felt.

The recent consultations from both Universities UK (UUK) and the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association (UCEA), which sought views from employers on how to progress towards a resolution, were discussed. The University stressed that it is in a stronger position to influence the national approach from within the group than standing as a lone voice outside of it and emphasised that, as a prominent party in this dispute, its position is clearly understood by its national representatives. The Vice-Chancellor once again committed to continuing to provide input to the University’s national representatives.

The University, the SU and UCU again noted the importance of open and ongoing dialogue and agreed to meet again in the near future.


A message from Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education, Monday 9 March 2020

Dear all,

As we enter the final week of strike action, I would like to assure you that we are continuing to listen to your feedback. We share your worries about the disruption to your education and will continue to do everything we can to address the concerns you have raised.

By way of a national update, our University has responded to consultations from both Universities UK (UUK) and the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association (UCEA), which have sought views from employers on how to progress towards a resolution. The dispute negotiations take place through national representatives of the employers and the University and College Union (UCU), and we are expected to work together as a collective with other employers. I can assure you however that our position, as a prominent party in this dispute, is clearly understood by our representatives and our President and Vice-Chancellor is continuing to push for a negotiated solution.

We are also keen to maintain the open dialogue we have built with our local UCU and Students' Union representatives, as a constructive channel through which to hear your concerns. We're speaking directly with Students' Union officers, whose role is to represent the student body and feed back to you. We will be meeting again with them this week.

As you will know, the strike action is planned to take place throughout the week. As with previous weeks, please continue to attend teaching and assessments as normal unless advised otherwise. If your class is cancelled, your department will endeavor, where possible, to notify you ahead of time.

If you have been affected by the industrial action, your department will also be working hard to put in place measures to support the experience of affected students and to mitigate the impact on learning.

If your lectures are cancelled, I would encourage you to still come to campus this week as the University and its libraries and study spaces will remain open and student services will still be available. This includes the Student Services Information Desk (SSID), Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS) and Financial Support Team.

Nonetheless, I understand this ongoing uncertainty can be stressful on top of your assessments and research. I want to reiterate that your wellbeing is our main priority, and should you need it, there is a range of support available to you at the University: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/mental-wellbeing

If you have a question or concern this week you can raise this through our dedicated phone number. The line is open 9am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, on this number: 0114 215 7770.

You may instead wish to get in touch through our online form, where we are continuing to respond to your questions: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/talk

Lastly, I recommend reading our FAQs, which are up to date with the most recent information: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/questions

Thank you for continued patience throughout this challenging time. As always, I will keep you updated with the latest developments.

Best wishes,

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education


A message from Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education, Monday 2 March 2020

Dear all,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us so far with your questions and concerns surrounding the ongoing industrial action. I want to reassure you that you are being heard and we share your concerns around disruption to your education.

As the strike action continues this week, I would like to inform you of the latest updates.

Last Tuesday, our Vice-Chancellor met again with the Students’ Union and representatives from the local University and College Union (UCU) branch. The discussions focused on ensuring our students and staff are supported throughout the strike action, the latest developments happening in the national negotiations and where possible resolutions may be found.

While this is a sector-wide dispute which means that we cannot resolve the national issues through actions undertaken in Sheffield alone, our Vice-Chancellor is committed to continuing to provide input to the University’s national representatives.

If the disputes remain unresolved further local talks will be planned in the coming weeks and, as your representatives, the Students’ Union will continue to raise issues from students that have been brought to their attention. You can read more about these meetings on our latest information pages: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/information

Meanwhile, we will continue to do everything we can to minimise disruption here at Sheffield, focusing on your education and welfare.

As you know, the strike action is planned to continue on these dates:

  • Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 March
  • Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March

It’s important that during this time you continue to attend all teaching and assessments as normal, unless advised otherwise. Your department will contact you wherever possible to notify you ahead of time if a class is cancelled.

However, I understand the disruption you may be experiencing and if you have been or will be affected by the action, your department will be working hard to restore those lost learning opportunities.

As the strike action continues, the University will remain open and student services will still be available, including the Student Services Information Desk (SSID), Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS) and Financial Support Team.

If you have a specific question or concern about how the industrial action affects you, our information line is still available, through which you can speak with a member of staff directly. Our staff will be able to quickly direct you to support, including departmental contacts who can answer specific learning and teaching questions.

The line is open 9am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, on this number: 0114 215 7770.

Alternatively, please do not hesitate to get in touch through our dedicated online form: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/talk

Your wellbeing is our main priority and we understand industrial action can cause additional stress and difficulties on top of your studies or research. If you need support, you may wish to register online with Student Access to Mental Health Support (SAMHS), which is available throughout the strike action: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/mental-wellbeing

Finally, we are continuing to update our FAQs with the latest information, to help you find the answers you need: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/questions

Thank you for your continued patience through what I know is a challenging time. As we continue to push for our national representatives to find a meaningful, negotiated solution to the disputes, I will keep you up to date with the latest developments.

Best wishes,

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education


Joint meeting with UCU and Students’ Union, Tuesday 25 February 2020

On Tuesday 25 February 2020, our President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, met again with the Students’ Union (SU) and representatives from the local University and College Union (UCU) branch to discuss the current UCU strike action and ways to find a resolution to the national disputes.

The meeting focused on the latest developments happening in the national negotiations and where possible resolutions may be found. All parties present at the meeting supported constructive moves by national representatives towards a mutually acceptable negotiated resolution that will bring an end to the industrial action we are experiencing here in Sheffield and taking place at 73 other UK universities.

It was acknowledged that to do so would require creativity on the part of national negotiators on both sides of the dispute. The Vice-Chancellor committed to continuing to provide input to the University’s national representatives.

The Students’ Union updated on their position and their concerns over the impact on students’ learning and teaching. There was a discussion around how the University could minimise the impact of the strike action. It was acknowledged that efforts to mitigate disruption to students’ learning while prioritising the welfare of students and staff were important.

The University is keen to ensure it keeps open communication channels and emphasised the importance of local, department level communications to students in order to ensure the most accurate and relevant information is provided.

The University, the SU and UCU also noted the importance of open and ongoing dialogue and if the disputes remain unresolved, agreed to hold further talks in the coming weeks.


A message from Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education, Thursday 20 February 2020

Dear all,

As strike action begins today, I would like to reassure you of the steps we are taking to deal with the disruption, and support you through this challenging period.

Firstly, University services will still be available throughout strike dates, including the Student Services Information Desk (SSID), Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS) and Financial Support Team.

University buildings, including all of our libraries, will remain open and I encourage you to still come into campus to make use of the resources available. We have also been working with your Students’ Union, who have ensured that the building will remain open and that all students are welcome to gather and study with friends throughout any disruption.

If you have a question about how you will be affected, our dedicated telephone number for strike action questions is open, where our staff will be able to direct you to the support and answers you need. The information line will also include guidance on how to access mental health support. The line is open from 9am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday and the number to call is 0114 215 7770.

In dealing with disruption, your wellbeing is our first priority as we understand strikes can cause additional stress and difficulties on top of your studies or research. If you need support, you may wish to register online with Student Access to Mental Health Support (SAMHS), which will still be available throughout this period of industrial action: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/mental-wellbeing

To remind you, the action is planned to take place on specified dates over the next few weeks, and on these dates some teaching sessions may not take place:

  • Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February
  • Monday 24, Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 February
  • Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 March
  • Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March

We will not know in advance exactly which classes will be affected however it’s important you attend all teaching and assessments as normal, unless advised of alternative arrangements.

To keep you up to date, last Friday our President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, met with representatives from the local University and College Union (UCU) branch and the Students’ Union. They looked at potential ways to find a resolution to the national disputes and focussed on ensuring students and staff are supported here at Sheffield through the strike action.

Since the first round of strikes in December 2019 were announced, our President and Vice-Chancellor has been maintaining pressure on our national representatives to find a meaningful negotiated solution to the disputes, to prevent further disruption to our students. He has committed to maintaining this pressure on our national representatives to resolve the disputes as soon as possible.

Read more about the outcomes of these discussions on our Industrial Action pages: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction

On Tuesday this week, Students' Union President Jake Verity published a joint letter with students' unions across the country addressed to our national representatives, urging the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), Universities UK (UUK) and USS to reach a negotiated solution to the disputes. The letter can be found here: https://su.sheffield.ac.uk/national-letter-from-our-su

As the weeks progress, we will continue to update our Industrial Action FAQs with the latest information: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/questions

Alternatively, you can get in touch with a question or concern through our online form: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/talk

While our national representatives work towards a solution to the disputes, as a University we will continue to do everything possible to support you through what I understand will be a difficult time for the entire University community.

Best wishes,

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education


Joint meeting with UCU and Students’ Union, Friday 14 February 2020

On Friday 14 February 2020, our President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, met with colleagues from the local University and College Union (UCU) branch, and the Students’ Union, ahead of the planned UCU strike action. The discussions centred around potential ways to find a resolution to the national disputes at the head of the UCU concerns and also focused on ensuring our students and staff are supported throughout this period of industrial action.

A number of practical matters were also discussed and agreed. Details of these arrangements will be provided in our updated FAQs for students.

The recent discussions between UCU; the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), who are the national pay negotiating body for the collective employers; and Universities UK (UUK), who represent employers in USS, were welcomed. However, it was acknowledged that more would need to be done to achieve a negotiated resolution to the national disputes. All parties present at the meeting in Sheffield supported moves towards a mutually acceptable negotiated resolution that will bring an end to the industrial action we are experiencing here in Sheffield and taking place at 73 other UK universities.

The support the University is putting in place for students was well received and the University expressed its commitment for this to continue. There was a common desire to ensure that our whole University community can continue to work and study constructively together once the disputes end.

The President and Vice-Chancellor committed to maintaining pressure on our national representatives to find a negotiated solution.

All parties welcomed the joint talks and noted the importance of open and ongoing dialogue and if the disputes remain unresolved, agreed to hold further talks in the coming weeks.


A message from Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education, Thursday 13 February 2020

Dear all,

Last week I wrote to you to let you know that the University and College Union (UCU), one of our recognised trade unions, has announced 14 days of strike action here at Sheffield and at 73 other universities. This follows ongoing disputes in higher education about pensions, pay and working conditions.

The proposed 14 strike dates are:

- Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February
- Monday 24, Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 February
- Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 March
- Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March

First of all, I’d like to reassure you that we are doing all we can to reduce any disruption during this time. Your education and welfare are extremely important to us, and always our first concern during any period of strike action.

We will not know in advance exactly which classes will be affected and it is important that you attend all teaching and assessments as normal, unless advised of alternative arrangements.

Understandably you may have specific concerns about how you will be affected, so we have re-established our telephone number for industrial action questions, which will be available from 9am on Monday 17 February.

Our dedicated team will be able to direct you to the answers you need, including providing departmental contacts who can answer specific questions about your course, and how to access mental health support.

The number to call is 0114 215 7770 and the line will remain open from 9am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, throughout the industrial action.

If you prefer, you can submit a question or concern through our online form: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/talk

We are also continuing to update these FAQs with the most up to date information, which you can find on our Industrial Action webpages: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/questions

This is a sector-wide dispute which means that we cannot resolve the national issues through actions undertaken in Sheffield alone. However we continue to work constructively with our local trade union colleagues on a range of issues. These include gender and ethnicity pay gaps, workloads and casual working, which are at the heart of the national dispute. You can read more about our joint work here: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.860890!/file/NonPayElementsSummary.pdf

Since the last action, the University has been working closely with the UCU to better understand and address issues relating to the pension dispute and we share many joint aims and perspectives.

The body that was set up by UCU and Universities UK (UUK) to examine the USS pension scheme released their second report in December 2019. Following the release of the report, UUK, UCU and USS have met several times to discuss reform to the USS pension scheme. These talks have been positive and constructive and focussed on building a common understanding of all the issues. There has been an agreement that these talks will continue through February and March 2020.

You can read more about the disputes and the action the University has taken on our Industrial Action webpages: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/questions

I would like to stress that we will continue to support you in every way we can through what we understand will be a difficult period.

As talks between national representatives continue, as a University will continue to urge all parties to reach a negotiated solution, while doing everything we can to minimise disruption here at Sheffield.

Best wishes,

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education


A message from Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education, Wednesday 5 February 2020

Dear all,

As you may know, the University and College Union (UCU), one of our recognised trade unions, has announced 14 more days of strike action across four weeks in February and March 2020, here at Sheffield and at 73 other universities. This follows ongoing disputes in higher education about the USS pension scheme and national pay negotiations.

Since the strike action in early December 2019, positive talks on both issues have taken place between all national representatives. We had sincerely hoped these talks would provide a basis for an agreed approach and that further strike action would be avoided.

Whilst the University fully respects the right of staff to take industrial action and accepts that action is not taken lightly, this will again be a challenging time for our entire University community.

I understand this may come as frustrating news, and would like to reassure you that no member of staff wants to disrupt your education. We will do everything possible here at Sheffield to deal with any disruption, prioritising your welfare and education.

The proposed 14 strike dates are spread over four weeks as follows:

  • Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February
  • Monday 24, Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 February
  • Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 March
  • Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March

This means that some classes may not take place during these dates, however we will not know in advance exactly which classes will be affected. To reiterate, we will do all we can to ensure that the impact of this future action is minimised.

We are continuing to work proactively with your Students’ Union Officers, who have ensured us that the Students’ Union building will be open as usual during any disruption, and that all students are welcome there throughout the action.

We will also update our Industrial Action webpages with the latest information, which includes FAQs to help answer concerns you may have.

However, I understand you may have specific questions about how the industrial action affects you, so please do not hesitate to get in touch through our dedicated form.

Talks between national representatives are ongoing and as a University we will continue to urge all parties to reach a negotiated solution.

In the meantime, I will ensure you are kept up to date with the latest information.

With best wishes,

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education


2019 industrial action updates

A message from Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education, Thursday 5 December 2019

Dear all,

I’d like to begin by thanking you for your patience over the eight days of industrial action here in Sheffield, and at 59 other universities in the country.

On Monday, our Vice-Chancellor met again with colleagues from the local University and College Union (UCU) branch and the Students’ Union Officers to discuss the industrial action and potential resolutions to the national disputes over pensions, pay and working conditions.

It was acknowledged that we cannot resolve the national issues through actions undertaken in Sheffield alone. While there is not yet a negotiated solution to the national disputes, our Vice-Chancellor is maintaining pressure on our national representatives to find one.

You can read about the steps the University has taken to help resolve the disputes here: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/information

Following the strike action, we are doing everything we can here at Sheffield to minimise any disruption caused to your learning outcomes.

Many of you have asked what happens to the money which the University saves from not paying staff who have taken strike action. Where academic staff have taken strike action, the money saved will be used within the department to support your learning. We will aim to take into account students’ views to inform these decisions.

We also understand that you may have incurred unnecessary out of pocket expenses due to the strike action, such as travel or childcare. You may be able to claim these back from the University. All claims will need to be made by 20 December.

Please visit our industrial action FAQs for more details: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/questions.

Understandably, you may still have questions about how the industrial action affects you. You can submit a question or comment through our dedicated online form, which we will continue to monitor: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/talk

Lastly, as the University continues to work with our trade union representatives, I will continue to update you with the latest information.

Best wishes,

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education

Vice-Chancellor holds further talks with UCU and Students’ Union, Monday 2 December 2019


On Monday 2 December 2019, our President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, met with colleagues from the local University and College Union (UCU) branch, and the Students’ Union, for further talks on managing the industrial action and potential ways to find a resolution to the national disputes.

The meeting was constructive and positive and once again included a focus on ensuring our students and staff are supported throughout this period of industrial action.

Following the President and Vice-Chancellor’s calls last week for talks to commence at a national level, the opening of discussions between UCU and the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association (UCEA), the national pay negotiating body for the collective employers, and Universities UK (UUK), who represent employers in USS are welcomed. The letters from the President and Vice-Chancellor to UCEA and UUK are available to read below.

Whilst there is not yet a solution to the national disputes, all parties present at the meeting in Sheffield supported moves towards a mutually acceptable negotiated resolution that will bring an end to the industrial action here in Sheffield and at 59 other UK universities.

It was acknowledged that the support the University has put in place for students has been appropriate and well received and that, despite the industrial action taking place locally, relations within the University community have been positive.

The University expressed thanks for the professional conduct of those taking action and the students who have supported them over the past week. There was a common desire to ensure that our whole University community can continue to work and study constructively together once the disputes end.

The President and Vice-Chancellor committed to maintaining pressure on our national representatives to find a negotiated solution.

A message from Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education, Monday 2 December 2019

Dear all,

Many of you have written to us with your questions and concerns surrounding the industrial action and I want to thank you for taking the time to do so. As the strike action continues until Wednesday this week, I would like to inform you of the latest updates.

Last Monday, our Vice-Chancellor met with colleagues from the local University and College Union (UCU) branch and the Students’ Union Officers to discuss the industrial action taking place here at Sheffield, and at 59 other universities in the country, as a result of concerns over pensions, pay and working conditions.

The meeting aimed to explore what more can be done locally and was constructive, including a focus on ways we can support students and staff throughout the strike action. While everyone present expressed a strong desire to find a resolution to the current disputes, it was also acknowledged that we cannot resolve the national issues through actions undertaken in Sheffield alone.

On Tuesday 26 November 2019, our Vice-Chancellor wrote to our national representatives Universities UK (UUK) and the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA) to again call on them to work with UCU to find a meaningful negotiated solution so we can end the disputes. You can read these letters online: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/information

Talks have continued at a national level. UCEA met with UCU last week and intend to go back to UCU this week with some fresh thoughts on the kind of work that can be taken forward at sector-level on gender and ethnicity pay gaps, casual employment arrangements and workload.

The Vice-Chancellor also urged UUK to do all they can to ensure that the next USS Joint Expert Panel report is published as soon as possible. This report is key to establishing a future approach to the operation of the sector-wide USS pension scheme that satisfies the needs of UCU, representing members, the collective employers and the USS Trustee.

We now understand that the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) will issue its second report before Christmas and we hope this will provide a way forward to ending the dispute.

Meanwhile, we are continuing to do everything we can to minimise disruption here in Sheffield, focusing on your education and welfare.

The industrial action is planned to continue this week, between Monday 2 to Wednesday 4 December 2019 inclusive. During this time, you should continue to attend all teaching and assessments as normal, unless advised otherwise. Wherever possible your department will aim to let you know ahead of time if a class is cancelled.

The University, including all of our libraries, will remain open this week and student services, such as the Student Services Information Desk (SSID), Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS) and Financial Support Team, will still be available. For parents, the Students’ Union Nursery will be open as normal.

Nonetheless, we hear your concerns about disruption to teaching and want to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to minimise any impact on your learning outcomes. Any disruption will also be taken into account while finalising results and where necessary, fair adjustments will be made for everyone affected.

Understandably you may have a specific question about how the industrial action affects you. Our information line is still available, through which you can speak to a member of staff directly. Our staff will be able to quickly direct you to support, including departmental contacts who can answer specific learning and teaching questions. You can also access immediate welfare support through the information line.

The line is open from 9am - 4.30pm, until Wednesday, on this number: 0114 215 7770.

Alternatively, you can submit a question or comment through our dedicated online form: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/talk

We are also continuing to update our FAQs regularly with the latest information: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/questions

Later today, the Vice-Chancellor will again be meeting colleagues from the local UCU branch and the Students’ Union Officers for further discussions about how we can resolve the disputes. We’ll share any updates following this meeting on the latest information section of our dedicated industrial action webpages: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/information

I want to thank you all for your continued patience during what I understand is a challenging time for our students and staff.

As we continue to work with our local trade union representatives, I will keep you updated with the latest information.

Best wishes,

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education

Vice-Chancellor's letters to UCEA and UUK, Tuesday 26 November 2019

On 26 November 2016, President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, sent letters to our national representatives, Universities UK (UUK) and Universities & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), calling for further talks with the University and College Union (UCU) to find a negotiated outcome to the disputes. He also called for the early release of the next Joint Expert Panel (JEP) report as key to establishing a future approach to the operation of the sector-wide USS pension scheme that satisfies the needs of UCU, representing members, the collective employers and the USS Trustee.

Read the letter to UUK (PDF, 849KB)

Read the letter to UCEA (PDF, 848KB)

Joint meeting with UCU and Students’ Union, Monday 25 November 2019

Our President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, has today (Monday 25 November 2019) met with colleagues from the local University and College Union (UCU) branch, and the Students’ Union, to discuss what more can be done locally to end the current disputes and industrial action.

The meeting was constructive and positive and included a focus on ensuring our students and staff are supported throughout this period of industrial action.

It was acknowledged that we cannot resolve the national issues unilaterally through actions undertaken just in Sheffield. The positive work we have done in partnership with our trade union colleagues over the sector-wide USS pension scheme and many of the pay related matters were also recognised.

There have been national level developments since the Vice-Chancellor’s calls for talks to take place with both Universities UK (UUK) and the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA). Both representative bodies have opened further discussions with UCU over the various elements of the disputes. All parties present at the meeting in Sheffield today expressed a strong desire that these lead to a mutually acceptable negotiated resolution that will bring an end to the industrial action we are experiencing here in Sheffield and taking place at 59 other UK universities.

The Vice-Chancellor committed to reiterating the University’s position to encourage our national representatives to find a negotiated solution.

Further talks have been scheduled for next week.

A message from Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education, Monday 25 November 2019

Dear all,

As industrial action begins today at our University, I would like to update you on the steps we have taken to minimise any disruption to your studies, and support you through what we appreciate may be a particularly difficult time.

First of all, our industrial action information line is now open. Through the information line our staff will be able to quickly direct you to support you may need, including providing departmental contact details who can answer specific learning and teaching questions.

You can also access immediate welfare support through the information line. This includes details on how to find a range of self-help material and how to register for an appointment with our Student Access to Mental Health Support (SAMHS) service.

The information line is available 9am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, on this number: 0114 215 7770.

Alternatively, you can also seek support by registering online with SAMHS, which will still be available throughout this period of industrial action: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/mental-wellbeing

We have received a number of questions about which buildings and services will be available throughout the industrial action. I would like to reassure you that University services will still be available, including the Student Services Information Desk (SSID), Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS) and Financial Support Team. For parents, the Students’ Union Nursery will be open as normal.

University buildings, including all of our libraries, will remain open and I encourage you to still come into campus to make use of the range of resources available. We have also been working proactively with your Students’ Union, who have stated that the Students’ Union building will remain a welcoming and calm place to gather throughout this period of industrial action.

The action is planned to take place throughout this week, and between Monday 2 to Wednesday 4 December 2019 inclusive, during this period some teaching sessions may not take place. We will not know in advance exactly which classes will be affected however it’s important you attend all teaching and assessments as normal, unless advised of alternative arrangements.

As the week progresses, we will continue to update our industrial action FAQs with the most up to date information: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/questions

However, I understand that you may have specific questions about how industrial action affects you, so we have created a dedicated form for your questions, comments and feedback. Please do not hesitate to get in touch: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/talk

To keep you updated, later today the Vice-Chancellor will be meeting with colleagues from the local UCU branch and the Students’ Union Officers to discuss what more can be done locally to end the current dispute and industrial action. We’ll provide an update following this meeting via the latest information section of our dedicated industrial action webpages: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction

As we continue to work with our local trade union representatives to address their concerns and try to shape the national debate, I will keep in touch with the latest information.

Best wishes,

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education

A message from Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education, Thursday 21 November 2019

Dear all,

Earlier this month, I emailed to inform you that the University and College Union (UCU), one of our recognised trade unions, had achieved a mandate for industrial action at 60 UK universities and here at Sheffield. This follows ongoing disputes throughout the higher education sector about the USS pension scheme and national pay negotiations.

The mandate means that from Monday 25 November to Friday 29 November 2019, and Monday 2 December to Wednesday 4 December 2019 inclusive, some teaching sessions may not take place. We will not know in advance exactly which classes will be affected however it’s important you attend all teaching and assessments as normal, unless advised of alternative arrangements.

Firstly, I would like to reassure you that we are doing all we can to minimise any disruption, with a continued focus on your wellbeing and education.

We understand that industrial action can cause uncertainty and concerns on top of the pressures of your studies, so we have set up a dedicated telephone number for industrial action questions which will go live from Monday 25 November 2019.

Through the information line you will be able to speak to one of our team of professionals who can direct you quickly and easily to support you might be needing, including providing details of departmental contacts who can answer specific learning and teaching enquiries.

The information line will also include an option for immediate welfare support, as well as details on the range of self-help material available and how you can register for a triage appointment with SAMHS (Student Access to Mental Health Support).

The information line will be available 9.00am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, on this number: 0114 215 7770.

If you prefer, you can also find support by registering online with our Student Access to Mental Health Support (SAMHS) service: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/mental-wellbeing

We are continuing to update our Industrial Action web pages with the most up to date information. You can find FAQs here, which are designed to help you find answers quickly and easily: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/questions

We have also been proactively working with your Students' Union, who have stated that the building will be a welcoming place for you to gather and study with friends in a calm space, where everybody feels valued.

Meanwhile, as we work with our trade unions and colleagues to address their concerns, I will continue to keep you updated with the latest information.

Best wishes,

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education

A message from Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education, Wednesday 6 November 2019

Dear all,

As you may be aware from recent press reports, there are ongoing disputes throughout the higher education sector about the universities pension scheme and national pay negotiations. Three trade unions have balloted their membership to seek a mandate for industrial action in relation to these issues. We now know that the University and College Union (UCU) have achieved a mandate for action here at Sheffield and in other UK universities on both issues.

UCU have announced that they intend to take action on Monday 25 November to Friday 29 November 2019 and Monday 2 December to Wednesday 4 December 2019 inclusive. This means that some classes may not take place during these dates. We will not know in advance exactly which classes will be affected.

No member of staff wants to disrupt students' education and we will do everything possible to deal with the disruption whilst prioritising your continued welfare, education and learning.

We are preparing a dedicated student helpline which will launch soon and I will contact you again when the phone line opens. We have also created some Industrial Action webpages which are designed to help you find information quickly and easily. You can find these at: www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction. These pages also contain FAQs relating to the industrial action to answer any queries you may have: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/students/industrialaction/questions

We have been proactively working with your Students' Union Officers to ensure that the Students’ Union Building will be a welcoming place for you to gather and study with friends in a calm space where everybody feels valued.

I will make sure you are kept updated with the latest information on any industrial action, as we continue to work with our trade unions and colleagues to address their concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education