What is your role in the branch?

I’ve been a member of Unison since I first joined SHU. I’ve been a Rep / Shop Steward for the last 3 years, and I’ve recently become the Membership Officer a few weeks ago.

How and why did you become involved in UNISON? 

I’ve always recognised the importance of Trade Unions, and I’ve seen first-hand how essential they are in previous work before joining Sheffield Hallam in 2011, so it was an easy decision to join a union here too. I became a Rep / Shop Steward three years ago when my department went through its latest restructure. It’s the 4th I had been through since joining SHU, and so I’ve seen first-hand how stressful, difficult and unpleasant they can be for so many of my colleagues. This restructure was looking like it may be particularly brutal, and I decided I should do what I can to support everyone in the department by becoming more active in the Union

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

All the issues the Trade Unions deal with are vital and worthy of focus, but if I had to highlight a few at the moment, I would say in the short-term Pay is the most obvious and pressing issue in light of the wider political and economic climate in the country. Ordinary people have been made to foot the bill for the incompetence and corruption of the last thirteen years, and they face more difficult financial circumstances and greater hostility from the current government than they have for decades. It is heartening to see so many of our friends in Unison and many other unions are finding a renewed voice and courage to stand up for themselves and demand fairness and justice.

In the slightly longer term, I personally think two key issues are Workers’ Rights and Climate Change. The government looks determined to severely curtail our workers’ rights when the EU law Revocation and Reform Bill comes into action at the end of December 2023 and could see the end of essential rights for all of us that we’ve all been protected by for many years. Regarding Climate Change, which unions are becoming ever more active on, if we don’t take drastic action to address the catastrophe we’re currently heading towards, then all other issues will pale in comparison, and again, it will be us ordinary people who suffer. Those with power always ensure their own survival and comfort at our expense. The importance of people coming together to make a united stand has never been more urgent.

Joint Union Committee Letter to the new VC

Dear Professor Mossop,

As representatives for the trade unions UCU, UNISON and Unite at Sheffield Hallam we would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to your new role. Our staff work hard to deliver quality teaching, which benefits from our economy boosting research and exceptional support for students, resulting in an excellent student experience. The recent award of TEF Gold is a reflection of the dedication of all here at Sheffield Hallam.

You are no doubt aware that despite this, pay and conditions have steadily declined for those very same staff. We have seen a real-term drop in pay of approximately 30% since 2009. In previous restructures we have seen significant erosion of terms and conditions and recently, we have been asked to consider the removal of and the reduction of pay protection and the removal of additional redeployment support. We also feel the commitment to the elimination of casualisation and outsourcing needs to be reaffirmed in the current climate. Given all these factors we are sure you can see that there is no room for further cuts here, and that priority should be given to addressing this spiral of decline in order to retain and grow a body of staff that has made Sheffield Hallam an award winning institution.

You are inheriting a difficult budget position, brought about by the prioritisation of capital expenditure projects over investment in staff. We have grave concerns about the project for a London campus, how it contributes to that budget deficit and the risks it entails. We need assurances that this project will not further damage the University’s financial status and also that any staff employed on this project, and any future similar projects, will be employed under the same terms and conditions as those already working for Sheffield Hallam. There are further questions around how this move to London aligns with the University’s civic agenda, implicit in which is a need to recommit to this region (

Our partnership with the University is the key to a successful and thriving institution. We would like to take this opportunity to rebuild and strengthen this partnership. Among the proposals we have is for regular attendance by our new VC and University Executive Board members at our Joint Negotiating Committee meetings, facilitating a more expansive, direct dialogue between the unions as staff representatives and the leadership of Sheffield Hallam. This would form the basis of a more open and transparent approach from the University, with our deeper involvement from an earlier stage in major projects that the University is planning and the provision of full information, including budget forecasts, to allow us to understand and be involved in major decisions around staff costs and other issues that impact our members.

All of these proposals have one aim: to ensure that Sheffield Hallam builds on the work of its staff as a centre of excellence, that it values their contribution and that it listens to and incorporates in its planning the expertise our members bring from doing the work that makes this University an award winning institution and a key civic partner contributing to the Region.

We hope that you will join us at a special Joint Negotiating Committee meeting to discuss the points raised in our letter. We look forward to working with you.

Ben Abell, Branch Secretary, Sheffield Hallam UCU

Dan Bye, Branch Secretary, Sheffield Hallam UNISON

Stephen Magowan, Branch Secretary, Sheffield Hallam Unite


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


Beat the Cost of Living Crisis

-Support the Strikes!




“Don’t tell us to not to demand a pay rise

when inflation has hit 14% RPI!”

“Sheffield TUC will continue to give maximum solidarity support to workers taking strike action in the face of an unprecedented cost of living crisis” said Martin Mayer Secretary Sheffield Trade Union Council. “This week it’s the turn of RMT rail workers, CWU Royal Mail workers, RCN Nurses and UNITE Shelter workers, and supporters will be joining picket lines and collecting money to support the strikes” he said.

RMT rail workers to stage 48-hour strikes from this week:

Tuesday 13th/ Wednesday 14th December and Friday 16th/Saturday 17th December

Until last week, rail workers had received no pay offer at all for 2022, and have had no pay increase for 3 years. Negotiations only delivered a 4% pay offer but that was conditional on huge changes to terms and conditions including Driver Only Trains on all services, closure of all ticket offices and other cuts, which the RMT has refused. RMT recently re-balloted its members for strike action and received an overwhelming mandate. Everyone knows it’s the Government that is holding back the Train Operators from settling this dispute, yet refuse to negotiate directly with the union. Where the Government is not involved, settlements have been reached e.g. ScotRail, Welsh Rail and the direct access train operators.

Royal Mail CWU strikes

Royal Mail members have had an unagreed 2 per cent pay deal imposed on them. This was at a time when RPI inflation was running at 11.8% (it is now 14.5%) and when Royal Mail had announced Group profits of £758 million – of which most was paid out in dividends  to private shareholders! In a national strike ballot over pay, Royal Mail CWU members voted by a massive 97.6 per cent majority to take action. CWU members have also voted by 98.7% on a 72.2% turnout for strike action in defence of the “Pathway to Change” national agreement. The Royal Mail company leadership has reneged on the Pathway to Change agreement’s Key Principles and has begun to impose changes without negotiation and without agreement, with serious adverse consequences for working conditions. CWU repos have faced bullying and harassment by management with many reps unfairly suspended, and the company is one of the first to use new Tory laws to allow agency workers to break strikes.

UNITE Shelter Workers are on 2 weeks solid strike

These dedicated social care sector workers do marvelous work helping the homeless struggle against a scandalous social housing crisis in the UK. But this well-respected charity has offered a paltry 3% to its workers in spite of a massive £14.5M reserve of funds that could easily finance a proper cost of living pay rise.

Commenting on the decision to go on strike, one member of Shelter’s staff said: “The work we undertake, particularly in frontline services, is so valuable and clients depend on our teams. But that shouldn’t mean they have to sacrifice a decent and dignified living because the work they are drawn to is in this sector. At the very base level, absolute bare minimum, those working for a housing charity shouldn’t be experiencing housing insecurity as a result of being unable to pay rent.” Another added: “I really care about the work and I think it’s recognised that I work hard – but I don’t feel right now my employer cares about me. I’m a single parent. I’m now in overdraft every month, I go around switching my lights off, I have turned my boiler down, I get stressed when the kids school wants me to pay for another school trip. The best acknowledgement my employer can give me for all my hard work is decent pay.”


RCN Nurses strike on 15th December (but not in Sheffield -nearest strike is in Nottingham)

The NHS is one of the best things about our country and it is falling apart due to massive austerity cuts over the last 12 years. Britain now has fewer hospitals and a huge loss of beds – Germany has three times the number of beds per head of population than we do. Severe staff shortages make the situation even worse, and a collapsed social care sector when too many sick and elderly people are stuck in hospital with nowhere else to go. Seven million people are waiting for NHS operations. Patients are stuck in the back of queuing ambulances. Nursing staff make up more than half of the NHS workforce, and they are pushed to breaking point. Care is not safe and patients are paying the price. For the first time in history, nurses are left with no choice but to go on strike. Unfair pay is forcing too many to leave. Over 25,000 nurses left last year alone. Without nursing staff, there will be no NHS. Nursing staff always speak up for patients – now we are speaking up for the nurses.


“Workers cannot afford another cut to their living standards after 12 years of austerity and stagnant /falling real incomes,” said Martin Mayer. “The current cost of living crisis is causing severe hardship across our communities and with RPI inflation now nearly 15%, millions of households face hunger and unheated homes this winter. We totally reject the Tories’ notion that cost of living increases will damage the economy. Britain is the 5th wealthiest country in the world but the wealth is not distributed fairly. If working class communities are made poorer still, then the economy will suffer from collapsing demand for goods and services. We demand a proper pay rise now for all workers. If you are not in a union, join one now!” concluded Martin Mayer



We are keen to hear members experiences of working at Hallam whilst living through the menopause. The University does not currently have a policy. UNISON would like to help them develop one in the near future. UNISON has an excellent model policy that has been developed through thorough research, but is there anything specific to the way we work which needs considering? Please send any comments in confidence to to be added to any bargaining arguments. Your responses will be anonymised.

Personal Safety

I recently attended Stand Up Against Street Harassment bystander intervention training run by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. This short course was focussed on how to intervene when you witness or are a victim of street harassment. This organisation has a great deal of useful information with regards women’s personal safety and issues around stalking.

UNISON Women’s Conference January 2022

Sadly, the conference was online this year. It had been planned to take place in Brighton before having to change due to the ongoing COVID situation. As I joined as Women’s Officer just before the pandemic, I am still yet to meet my UNISON colleagues, either within the branch or nationally.

Despite the physical distance, the conference was an enlivening and informative event. Motions around supporting carers, part time working, the cost of living crisis (disproportionally affecting female workers) and menopause passed. They will now be brought up with the NEC and therefore campaigned for to parliament. It was a lesson in how the grassroots can in turn influence the government.

 Want to know more about what UNISON is doing nationally for Women members?

Are there female centric issues which you think I should be addressing or highlighting? Please get in touch and let me know.

Anna Wiggins

NDC Report from Dan Grace

The National Delegate Conference (NDC) is Unison’s highest democratic decision-making body working alongside the General Secretary, the President and the National Executive Council to run our union. It’s an annual meeting of delegates from all Unison branches where motions and rule changes are passed that change the way our union functions. I was put forward as our branches delegate for this year’s meeting in Brighton between 14th and 17th of June. Spread across four days at the Brighton Centre, it consisted of the main delegate sessions, where we voted on motions put forward by branches across the UK, along with a variety of fringe events at lunch time and in the evening.

Highlights among the decisions made include Unison’s decision to back proportional representation, support for trans equality, to tackle climate change through support for public ownership of energy companies and decarbonising public services, and a renewed commitment to be an organising union giving its members the power to organise in their workplaces. Full details of all the motions passed and rule changes made can be found here:

Fringe events I made it along to included a talk from Labour MP John McDonnell on the importance of the links between trade unions and our parliamentary representatives, a presentation from the Cuban Ambassador to the UK alongside the Cuba Solidarity campaign group on the ongoing injustice of the US blockade of that socialist country and a discussion of the state of climate policy in public services post-COP26.

It was a fascinating four days. I had the opportunity to meet many other reps and members from across Yorkshire and the rest of the UK and feel part of a broader movement. I would recommend the experience to anyone interested in becoming more involved in the democratic decision making processes of our trade union.

Introducing… Dan Grace, Communications Officer and Workplace Rep

What is your role in the branch?

I am a workplace rep for Library and Student Services and the branch communications officer. This means I do casework helping members with issues in Library and Student Support and also oversee communications for the branch, such as email, social media and this newsletter. Members should feel free to contact me in either of these capacities.

How and why did you become involved in UNISON?

I’ve been a UNISON member since 2008. I was a workplace rep in my previous job in Sheffield’s public library service. I decided to become a rep around the time of the implementation of the coalition governments austerity program which saw huge cuts to public library services. I was already involved in campaigning around the cuts and closures and saw becoming a trade union rep as the obvious next step in that fight. I took a break from being a rep when I first moved to Sheffield Hallam due to having a young family and studying commitments but volunteered again last November. Since then I have become the branch communications officer and travelled to Brighton as our branch delegate for the National Delegates Convention.

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

In addition to the day-to-day help we provide supporting members, the current cost of living crisis is clearly the most pressing issue for trade unions. Securing an above inflation pay increase is vital as we all face rising bills. In addition to this I think climate change is in urgent need of addressing from a trade union perspective. The two issues are linked of course. Spiralling energy bills show how our system has become incapable of managing a transition to affordable and abundant green energy sources. Any such transition would have to be a fair one for workers, which is why I believe that trade unions have to lead on building a Green New Deal that creates climate jobs for the future. As well as considering what this means for those of us working at Sheffield Hallam, our university should be training the next generation of workers necessary for a green industrial revolution. UNISON and other trade unions need to be leading the way on this, supporting where things are done right, challenging where not enough is being done.



From Tuesday 4th May, ballot papers began to appear through UNISON members’ letter boxes for the elections to the UNISON National Executive Council, the body which makes the decisions on how the Union is run at a national level.

These are very important elections and we would urge you to read the material that you will receive and to use your vote.

Note that you are entitled to vote in all the elections for seats listed on your ballot paper, regardless of seat type.

The ballot closes on the 27th May so you should aim to get your ballot paper in the post by the 24th May to ensure it arrives on time.

If you haven’t received your ballot paper by the 13th May, then you should contact the ballot helpline operated by UNISONdirect, on the following telephone number: 0800 0 857 857.

More information regarding the elections can be read here (


SHU Branch nominated the following candidates who have a track record of leadership and fighting for members. They stand for transforming UNISON by:

Creating real change to win for members.

  • Redirecting Union resources to branches, to better support you at work.
  • Coordinating serious national action on pay and to defend pensions.
  • Fighing employers’ ‘fire and re-hire’ tactics, worsening our terms & conditions
  • A greater focus on Covid-19, to better support members’ safety.
  • Fighting against the scourges of racism, and all forms of discrimination.
  • Prioritising UNISON’s role in fighting the climate emergency


Greta Holmes Female seat
Sarah Littlewood Female seat
Theresa Rollinson Reserved seat
Tony Wright Male seat
Sandy Nicoll Higher Education – general seat
Kath Owen Higher Education – female seat
Julia Mwaluke Black members’ seats – reserved seat
Nimisha Trivedi Black members’ seats – female seat
Paula Carlyle Disabled members’ seats – female seat
Sharron Nicoll Disabled members’ seats – general seat
Lilly Boulby Young members’ – female seat
Kiera Hilder Young members’ – general seat

 Please use your vote!


UNISON currently has eleven stewards who have been elected to represent members across the University.

To see who your local representatives are, see:

But we need more!    Most constituencies do not have their full complement of stewards, and some constituencies are without representation at all.  Stewards do a great job on your behalf, and more stewards could do an even better job.

Workplace stewards are at the heart of our union. They are your first point of contact where you work, and they work hard to make your voice heard and make your workplace a fairer and better place to work.

Stewards get the satisfaction of supporting colleagues, but can also gain new skills and experience that might be hard to pick up any other way.  You will also receive excellent training in the role from the Union, support from the Branch, and you are allowed paid time off work to carry out union duties.


·        Participating in a range of activities including organising, recruiting and representing UNISON members.

·        Being involved in how the Sheffield Hallam University UNISON branch is run.

·        Being the first and main point of contact for members in your constituency.

·        Supporting and advising members on workplace issues, both individual and collective.

·        Acting as a spokesperson for the members in your constituency and informing and involving members in branch activities.

Not sure if it’s for you?  Read on…

“But I don’t have the skills!”

Here are six common worries you may have about becoming a steward – and why it’s not as scary as you might think.

1. I don’t do public speaking…

…but I do raise issues I am concerned about in team meetings at work.

2. I don’t do negotiation…

…but I did complain when my gas bill got too high, and I did sort out a better deal with the company.

3. I don’t do campaigning…

…but I did support my local library when it was threatened with closure.

4. I don’t do recruitment…

…but I do get my neighbours to support the local school

5. I don’t organise meetings…

…but I do organise outings and holidays with my friends and family

6. I don’t do representation…

…but I did go to the doctors with my partner to make sure they got their views across.

Sound like you? Your colleagues need you!


Should you wish to find out more about becoming a steward, please contact one of our current Stewards or Branch Officers, or for more information visit

If you want to stand, you will need to get elected.

Complete a Steward Nomination Form (available here: ​doc icon Shop_Steward_Nomination_Form_2021.doc– which requires two members of your constituency to nominate you.  The form should then be emailed back to UNISON administrator Joanne Ward.

If you are unsure of the UNISON members in your constituency please email Joanne Ward who will able to contact members on your behalf.

Your nomination will then be circulated to members in your constituency and provided no objections are received you will be deemed elected, otherwise an election will be held.