University staff strike

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A ONE-day strike by support staff at Sheffield University went ahead today after talks between management and unions broke down.

Hundreds of workers are taking action after the University Council announced they are to scrap their current pension scheme and introduce a new scheme which will mean lower paid staff will miss out on thousands of pounds each year.

Those on strike include the University’s lowest paid workers including porters, cleaners, security and office staff.

The unions - Unite and Unison - say the university’s lowest-paid staff, some who earn between just £3,000 and £16,000 a year, will be forced to join a new Cash Balance Scheme which will see their already meagre pensions halved.

But those on higher salaries - including Vice Chancellor Keith Burnett who earns £294,000 per year - will continue to benefit from membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme and its final salary pension provision.

Bosses at the University say the rising risk and cost of pension provision means the scheme is no longer sustainable.

Talks between the two sides have been on going but broke down on Wednesday.