Dear Andrew Dodman,
Director of Human Resources,
University of Sheffield

Our University has a problem with inequality. Standard undergraduate student fees have lept three-fold since 2012, with the average debts of a graduating student around £44,000 [1]. Our Vice Chancellor took home £370,000 last year, whilst the University benefits from the zero-hours and short-term contracts of many staff who are intimately involved to the administrative and intellectual life of the institution. In the middle, academics with open-ended contracts, of whom I am one, have suffered years of below inflation pay-rises [2].

This is the context for the current University and College Union (UCU) action short of a strike – a boycott on assessment by Union members, voted for by the largest turn out in the Union’s history, in support of protecting pensions – another area in which unjustified cuts are planned which will profit those who have, and squeeze those who have not. Directly these plans will reduce the pension for current staff, and it will also impact on the students and wider public to which the University is obligated, who will get less from demoralised, under-rewarded and over-managed University lecturers.

You have announced that all University of Sheffield staff participating in the action will be docked 25% pay. I would like to request that all the savings made from cutting my pay are redistributed to my students in the form of a fee rebate. The University shouldn’t profit from action staff are taking in the name of a fair reward for working here, and students deserve some compensation.

Yours

Tom

Tom Stafford
Lecturer in Psychology and Cognitive Science
University of Sheffield

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/73-of-todays-students-will-still-be-paying-off-their-tuition-fees-in-their-50s-9249258.html

[2] http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/v-c-pay-105000-rise-for-head-as-staff-denied-living-wage/2010736.article