Staff from both Sheffield universities are staging a one-day strike tomorrow – with three unions taking action together for the first time.
Members of UCU, Unison and Unite are demanding an improved pay rise, claiming their salaries have been reduced by 13 per cent over the last four years.
Lecturers and support staff have been offered a one per cent rise this year, which they have rejected.
Picket lines are planned tomorrow outside all main Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam university buildings.
A march will begin in late morning from the City Hall to a rally in St Matthews Hall on Carver Street.
Speakers include UCU president Simon Renton as well as students who are supporting the action.
UCU members are also planning to escalate their campaign from Friday by working to contract and withdrawing goodwill, comprising action short of a strike.
The Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association expressed disappointment at the rejection of the pay offer.
A spokesman said that less than five per cent of the higher education workforce had chosen to vote in favour of strike action and predicted ‘a low level impact on students’.
But a spokesman for the National Union of Students in Sheffield said: “We believe that fair pay is an issue of fairness in itself, but we also note that there are very clear benefits to students that pay is at a level which attracts excellent staff, and helps to support the maintenance of a happy and motivated workforce.”
Sheffield Hallam UCU branch secretary Mike Henderson said: “What all staff want is to see the employers coming back with a sensible offer rather than a further pay cut – that is what will help to make sure that our fantastically successful higher education system will continue to help hundreds of thousands of people every year to develop knowledge and skills.”