Students occupy Sheffield University arts tower in solidarity with striking lecturers

The arts tower has been occupied by students this morning
The arts tower has been occupied by students this morning
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Students have occupied the arts tower on the University of Sheffield campus this morning to show solidarity for their striking lecturers.

Dozens of students are staging a sit-in at the university arts tower on Western Bank.

The doors have been barricaded and the building is shut.

Lecturers are striking over changes to their pensions and yesterday rejected a deal that could have seen the strikes cancelled.

Dr Jo Grady tweeted this morning: "Arts Tower is where the HR dept lives, and it looks completely occupied!
"Solidarity with the students, who are occupying in solidarity with striking staff."

Around 30 University and College Union branches across the country - including in Sheffield - rejected a deal that could have seen the strike suspended.

The arts tower is shut due to occupation

The arts tower is shut due to occupation

A motion to reject the latest deal was unanimously passed by more than 350 Sheffield UCU members at an Emergency General Meeting.

It comes after more than three weeks of intermittent strikes because of a row over the ‘Universities Superannuation Scheme’ pension. Thousands of students at 60 British universities have had classes and assessments disrupted, with the strike set to continue until the end of this week.

UCU claims the new scheme could leave lecturers up to £10,000 a year worse off in retirement, as pensions are changed from “defined benefit”, guaranteeing staff a stable income in retirement, to a “defined contribution” scheme where pensions are vulnerable to fluctuations on the stock market.

The proposed deal would have meant the controversial changes to pensions set aside, with the temporary deal covering the pension deficit until 2020 when longer-term discussions would start again.

Arts tower

Arts tower

Strikers outside the arts tower

Strikers outside the arts tower