Sheffield University workers call for living wage

UNISON and Unite union members held a protest against cuts in pensions for low paid workers ouitside Sheffied Universtity's Firth Court building. Our picture shows Sheffield University's UNISON branch secretary Stuart Anderson, with the cake, while looking are, from left, Unite branch secretary Martin Bentley, Maggie Hague, Malcolm Crookes, Yvonne Steel, Joani Glossop, Liz Norris and Maureen Howard.
UNISON and Unite union members held a protest against cuts in pensions for low paid workers ouitside Sheffied Universtity's Firth Court building. Our picture shows Sheffield University's UNISON branch secretary Stuart Anderson, with the cake, while looking are, from left, Unite branch secretary Martin Bentley, Maggie Hague, Malcolm Crookes, Yvonne Steel, Joani Glossop, Liz Norris and Maureen Howard.
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WORKERS at Sheffield University offered their bosses a tea time treat when they arrived to attend a meeting at Firth Court.

Trades union members and students handed members of the University Council a piece of cake – and a demand that the institution’s lowest paid workers get an equal slice of the pay rise, pension and bonuses currently enjoyed by their bosses.

The groups joined forces to ask for workers to be paid a living wage and a decent pension when they retire.

A living wage is higher than the minimum wage and calculated based on how much money is needed to cover the cost of a decent standard of living.

The University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Keith Burnett, recently received a six per cent pay raise taking his total remuneration to £331,000 a year.

His increase came as changes were made to the pension scheme, which the unions say will cost low paid workers thousands per year when they reach retirement.

The university maintains the change was required to ensure its pension scheme remained ‘sustainable’, and says Prof Burnett’s salary reflects the huge responsibility of leading a complex organisation ranked in the top 100 universities in the world.

But Stuart Anderson, branch secretary of Unison said the new scheme was the worst offered in the university sector.

He also called for members – who received an increase of £150 or one per cent – to be paid the same minimum income standard wage paid at universities such as London Met and Manchester.

Stuart added: “Staff put a lot of themselves into their work contributing to the high standard of the university – the least the executive can do is pay them a living wage and decent pensions when they retire.”