GAZA -Sheffield events this week

Find out how you can help: click here

Click here to watch a short video of Musheir and friends at work preparing essential food supplies.
Tuesday November 7th at 7.00p.m. Central United Reformed Church, 66 Norfolk Street, S1 2JB

Dates for your Diary – full details of these events to follow:

November 11th Sheffield:
Rally in Sheffield and, once more, travel to the National Rally in London will be organised for those who can attend.

November 19th:
A sponsored walk, raising funds for Gaza, in Graves Park, Sheffield. S8 8LL. This inclusive event is one that everyone in Sheffield is invited to join. We will walk together for Gaza.

November 26th:
“Coming Together for Palestine”, a cross-community event to mark the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians (which falls on November 29th). This fundraiser for Gaza will offer food, a compilation of Musheir’s films and speakers. Details of how to get tickets will follow.

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SEE ALSO Sheffield PSC facebook

AND Sheffield PSC Instagram

Free UNISON Courses

Places are still available for the following workshops.  These courses are Free to UNISON members to attend.  Please follow the links for further information.  Contact Rose on to book your place.

Excel for Beginners: 7 November at 10.00am – 1.30pm (Via Teams)

CVs and Application Forms: 7 November at 6.30pm – 7.30pm (Via Teams)

Get Active in UNISON: 9 November at 12.00pm – 1.00pm (Via Teams)

How to be an Effective Ally: 13 November at 10.30am – 12.00pm (Via Zoom)

RNIB Visually Impairment Awareness: 20 November at 10.00am – 11.30am (Via Teams)

Interview Skills: 21 November at 6.30pm – 7.30pm (Via Teams)

Healthy Workplaces: 27 November at 10.00am – 12.00pm (Via Teams)



Women in UNISON

Women in UNISON – Pathways to Activism (weekend, overnight stay in hotel) on 25 and 26 November

A weekend course that helps women members explore the possibilities of getting more involved in the union.  

It gives an outline of the way the union works and invites women to explore their own skills and how they can use them. 

This course will be held at our UNISON Regional Centre in Leeds with overnight accommodation at DoubleTree by Hilton.  The course is FREE to attend. 

You must be able to attend the full weekend to take part in this course. Closing date 22 October.

How to applyContact your branch as you will need approval to attend.  Once approved your branch will contact to book your place.

Day school: Latin America in the front line

Saturday 7 October, 9.45am – 4.15pm

At: Quaker Meeting House, St James St, Sheffield S1 2EW

Recently Sheffield Hallam UNISON affiliated to the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC). Our reasons for doing so are explained in the motion that can be found here.

CSC Sheffield will be co-hosting this public event coming up soon in Sheffield so we are inviting you to support it if you can.


*  Aymee Diaz Negrin, political counsellor at the Cuban Embassy will be speaking at the opening plenary.

* Workshops including: Cuba Resists Tightening the US Blockade with speakers Aymee Diaz Negrin, Cuban Embassy and Dr Emily Morris, Institute of the Americas

*  Range of workshops and speakers on Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru and themes of climate change, debt, trade unions and social struggles in the region.

Tickets £5 unwaged, £10 waged. Register in advance online via eventbrite here  – or pay on the door.

Hosted by Sheffield Trades Council, CSC Sheffield, Chile Solidarity Network, Jubilee Movement Sheffield, Alborada, Sheffield Left.

For more information about this meeting or future local meetings, please contact CSC Sheffield

Subscribe to CUBA UPDATE, our free email newsletter at

Shop for Cuban products and solidarity merchandise online at

Facebook @CubaSolidarityCampaign

Twitter @cubasolidarity

Instagram @cubasolidarity

Celebrate Cuban culture:

UNISON statement on Sheffield Hallam University’s financial position

Colleagues will be aware of the University’s worrying financial position.   Both Vice-Chancellor Chris Husbands and Chief Finance Officer Ryan Keyworth have spoken about this in recent weeks in the Transforming Lives staff digest and all-staff meetings, and there will likely have been local communications and discussions as well.

Failure to meet student recruitment targets for 2023/4 (both home undergraduate and international) has left the University significantly short of income against budget.  There are local factors, but Sheffield Hallam are not alone in experiencing difficulties; although the number of 18 year olds has increased, the number choosing to go to university has not increased as expected.   Meanwhile, the higher education sector has been under sustained Government attack for many years, and undergraduate tuition fees (our main source of income) have been frozen since 2017, against a recent background of relatively high inflation.   The system seems broken, but there is no sign of any serious political will to fix it.   Hostile Government rhetoric suggests they would not be bothered if some universities were forced to close – there was a time when this would have been politically disastrous.

Members want to know what the University is going to do about this.    There are plans to diversify income (online provision, the London project), but any financial benefits from that will not come to fruition in the short term.   System and processes are being reviewed to identify efficiencies, although again will these come in quickly enough, if we do it properly?  There are also plans which may be delayed or stopped, and other non-pay savings are being looked at.

More stringent vacancy and recruitment management has also been introduced – not, we are assured, a vacancy “freeze”, but definitely a wintry chill.    This will leave teams understaffed, and pile even more pressure on busy colleagues.  If you are experiencing stress due to an unmanageable workload, put your health first and raise the problem with your line manager.  If you need support, contact UNISON.

The apparent urgency of the problem created an expectation of further announcements of other measures to be taken.  But little else has been communicated, which is creating uncertainty.  Are things not as bad as we were led to believe, or so bad that decisions are being avoided?

The University must resist any temptation to think it can simply cut its way out of trouble in the short-term.  Redundancies, voluntary or otherwise, are not cost-free, and damage student-facing services as well as essential back-office operations as well as staff morale.  Large-scale restructures are time-consuming, expensive, and seldom achieve everything they set out to achieve.

UNISON members want Sheffield Hallam to be successful, and work hard to make it so.   While University leadership considers what to do, they should remember that Hallam’s staff are critical to its future.

Dan Bye

Branch Secretary

Branch Motions 2023

Motions voted on and passed at Branch Committee meetings:

Stop the War: in support of @The World At War – A Trade Union Issue’ Conference 

Donate to the STUC solidary fund

Donation for coaches to Rotherham

STUC climate action meeting 

CSC motion

Lift the ban  motion

Workers Summit model motion

AV equipment fund motion

Stop Planned Visa Fee Increases motion

Ceasefire in Gaza, in solidarity with Palestinians 

Visa Fee Increases: the impact on staff and students at SHU

On the 13th of July, the government proposed a range of hikes to visa fees and surcharges as a way to fund public sector pay rises. While everyone can agree that the public sector needs pay rises, the planned increases to migrant fees are a political choice to pit workers against each other.

The IPPR spelled out several progressive tax options available to the government to fund public sector pay rises without impacting inflation that do not involve robbing one group to pay another. Moreover, many migrants are public sector workers themselves, who should not have to pay higher visa fees to support their own pay increase.

On the 6th of September, SHU UNISON passed a motion ‘Stop Planned Visa Fee Increases’ which called upon Unison Higher Education to urge the government to abandon these plans to raise the fees. However, the situation is changing rapidly.

On the 15th of September, the House of Commons published a research briefing which explains that visas and related fees have risen significantly above inflation and above processing costs. Then, on the 18th of September, the Home Office officially announced 15-35% rises to visa fees, which will take effect on the 4th of October. They also announced a 66% rise to the Immigration Health Surcharge (a fee which migrants pay upfront for each year of their visa to fund the NHS in addition to their taxes), which is meant to take place later this year.

How this will affect students and staff at SHU

Firstly, any migrant staff or students will be directly affected by the cost of their visa renewals. Depending on their visa, this is likely to be an increase between £1,000 and £2,000 depending on the route. For example, a two-year graduate route which costs the Home Office £103 to administer, will go from £1,963 to £2,894; three-year skilled worker visas which cost the Home Office £151 will go from £2,591 to £3,932. These unexpected rises during a cost of living crisis will be felt by migrants and families, and are likely to force those with fast approaching visa renewals to make some hard decisions about their finances.

There are implications for university finances which have potential knock-on effects for all university staff and students, as International Student Fees are projected to make up 25% of HE provider total income. As fees become prohibitive to potential students, university budgets may need to tighten accordingly. Additionally, there has been a 19% increase in the cost to the university to sponsor international students and certificates of sponsorship for skilled workers have gone up by 20%, which will have a direct and immediate impact on university budgets and forecasts.

Even where the university does not pay these costs directly, there are concerns from the research and development sector that the fees will actually level down the UK and have a detrimental effect on the HE sector. Sheffield specifically is one of the cities which benefits the most from international students. According to HEPI, International students have boosted the UK economy by £41.9 billion, and have provided a net figure of £1,930 per resident in Sheffield Central alone in 2021/2022.

So, what can we do about it?

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee increase of 66% which makes up the bulk of a migrant’s visa cost has not yet been agreed by the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Write to your MP and urge them to lobby to have this voted down.

Additionally, the 10-year route to settlement disproportionately affects women and minorities. You can write to your MP to urge them to cap the routes to settlement at 5 years, to stop migrants from having to pay high fees on average every 2.5 years for ten years.

Sign this petition to stop the fee increases, and ask your network to do so as well. If it receives 100,000 signatures Parliament will have to debate it.

Hallam UNISON will be campaigning for this to be taken up by other branches and unions across higher education. If you want to know more or get involved, please get in contact with us.

Kayla Kemhadjian – Hallam UNISON member


Free Members Learning Courses

Please find below details of forthcoming courses for the beginning of October.  These courses are free to UNISON members to attend. 

How to be a good Trans Ally on 3 October at 10am – 12.45pm via Teams

CVs and Application Forms on 5 October at 6.30pm – 7.30pm via Teams

Confidence Building (bitesize) on 12 October at 1pm – 2pm via Teams 

Makaton: Baby and Young Children Signing on 13 October 10am – 11.30am via Zoom

For more details about the above courses and others please follow the link below:

In-Person courses – at our office in Leeds

Dyslexia Awareness on 10 October at 10am – 4pm

For further details about this course and how to apply, please click the link:

To book your place on the online courses please email the team at with your name, membership number (if you have to hand) and your email address.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Introducing…Environmental Officer

What is your role in the branch?

Hello, I’m Tom Kistell and I’m the Environmental Officer, also known as the Green Rep.  My role is to be the Committee member responsible for everything to do with environmental sustainability, hearing what people have to say about it, matching up members with training and networking opportunities, and leading on UNISON’s efforts locally to help Sheffield Hallam become a more sustainable organisation.


How and why did you become involved in UNISON?

I’ve been involved with the union for more than half my life by this point!  I first joined when I was still at school, while I was working in a sports centre run by my local council.  One of the longstanding UNISON stewards there spoke about the need for all workers to be trade union members, even “young pups”, and his words stuck with me.  I joined in each place where I worked after that and, by the time I came to Sheffield Hallam, I wanted to contribute more as an activist.  I’ve been a steward, a workplace contact, and now an officer here.

What issues do you feel trade unions should be focusing on?

Obviously, I’m going to say climate action because it’s a theme that relates to everything else.  I can’t say enough about that in a few words here, but I’m always happy to talk about it with anyone who’s interested.  Other headline issues for me are work intensification, staff wellbeing, real-terms pay cuts, issues faced by parents and carers, and the barriers that people from poorer backgrounds encounter at work.  We need to recruit more of our colleagues as members, too.  If there are UNISON members in every team, then we’re in a much better position to push for positive change in the University and beyond.