Members of Unison and Unite (admin workers, cleaners, caterers, porters and security) at Sheffield University were on strike over pensions on 3 June.
Management pushed through changes to their pension scheme at a university senate meeting without considering alternatives. The universities proposals rip the guts out of the pension scheme for its non-teaching staff, many of whom are low paid workers. The current system gives members half their final salary as their pension, but new proposals would leave members with a lot less than that.
Someone who earned £15,000 on retirement could drop from £7,500 on the current scheme to £3,700 on the new scheme, and pay more in contributions to boot.
The two unions have called another day of strike action on 10 June, as this is the last day that students attend the university: strikers are hopeful they will have an impact on university functioning and bring management back to the table. The unions now need to think of a strategy to win and not lose pace over the summer term, where strike action will have a smaller impact despite workers still working during this period.
As with pensions disputes nationally, action in the summer term must be followed by rolling action and other industrial action, with a stepping up of action come autumn.