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Sheffield International College to be hit with five days of strikes over low pay

7 November 2022

UCU members at the University of Sheffield International College will take five days of strike action from Thursday 17 November in a long running dispute over low pay. The action will be the first ever strike to take place in a privatised higher education provider.

The full days of strike action are:

  • Thursday 17 November
  • Friday 18 November
  • Monday 28 November
  • Tuesday 29 November
  • Wednesday 30 November

Staff will also work to rule from Monday 21 November, which includes working strictly to their contracted hours, refusing to make up work lost as a result of strike action and refusing to cover for absent colleagues.

Last month an overwhelming 84% of staff who voted said yes to strike action after employers refused to raise pay by more than 5% before January 2023. The turnout in the ballot was over 83%. UCU is demanding a pay award of at least 12% to help staff meet the cost of living crisis.

The college is privately owned by a company called Study Group but is closely connected to the University of Sheffield. Study Group uses University of Sheffield branding, and provides preparation courses for overseas students who want to go on and study at the university. Students from across the world enrol to improve their English, study skills and subject specialism in readiness for their degrees. Courses at USIC cost upwards of £22k per year per student.

UCU staff at 150 universities have also voted for strike action in disputes which include low pay.

UCU regional official said Julie Kelley said: 'Our members are facing a cost of living crisis and University of Sheffield International College needs to offer them a meaningful pay award that will help them cope in the months to come. When inflation is at 12.6%, an offer of 5% is nowhere near enough.

'The last thing we want to do is go out on strike, but management has left us with no other choice.'


Last updated: 8 November 2022