Sheffield students claim strike refunds

Professor Sir Keiith Burnett, Sheffield University vice chancellor.
Professor Sir Keiith Burnett, Sheffield University vice chancellor.
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Hard-up students are demanding cash refunds from Sheffield’s universities - after lectures and seminars were cancelled in a second day of strike action.

Undergraduates at Sheffield University are being urged by their student union to complain directly by email to Vice Chancellor Professor Keith Burnett if their studies are disrupted.

They are being advised to claim a refund of £60, the equivalent of one day’s tuition fees as students are now charged up to £9,000 a year.

Hallam students are also joining the campaign.

Lecturers and support staff walked out on Tuesday as part of a national dispute over pay - with unions saying a one per cent offer is an effective salary cut for the fifth year in a row.

Both universities and further education institutions including Sheffield College were affected.

Students at Sheffield University say in the past cash saved through not paying the wages of striking staff was instead directed to a student union hardship fund - but this is no longer happening.

The university says instead the money saved will be returned to departmental budgets ‘to enhance the student experience’.

Sheffield University postgraduate student Chaz Lockett, aged 22, said he had emailed the vice chancellor on the issue.

“This dispute is not the fault of the hardworking staff, it’s the intransigence of the people who run the universities that is damaging our education,” he said.

“The universities won’t listen to their staff so its down to the students to put pressure on them to resolve this dispute.”

Hallam student Kate McNeil added: “If we can get enough people involved in the campaign we hope we can pile pressure on the universities to resolve this dispute quickly.”

Both universities said they would not be paying refunds.

Sheffield University’s Andrew Dobman said: “To enhance the student experience, savings in salary costs will be returned to departmental budgets.”