Unite, Britain and Ireland's leading union, has negotiated an agreement with Sheffield Students' Union which ensures hundreds of zero hours staff will receive their wages until mid April (see notes to editors). 

The agreement was reached following the shutdown of the University of Sheffield on 17 March in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.

At the request of Unite, the Students’ Union management had already improved its terms for self-isolating zero hours staff, moving them from the infamous statutory sick pay scheme to full pay for the duration of their isolation or sickness absence.

Earlier this month, health warnings linked to Coronavirus (COVID 19) prompted the workers’ union - Unite to step up its campaign to support zero hours staff employed by Sheffield Students' Union

Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner said: "The agreement gives zero hours staff some much needed confidence in difficult times. Sheffield Students' Union are to be congratulated for recognising the challenges workers face.

"Sheffield Students' Union has agreed to pay zero hours workers 100 per cent of what they would have been earning if their workplace had remained open up until mid April. 

"At the request of Unite, management had already improved its terms for self-isolating zero hours staff.  The deal was made possible by the workers, proving that when you organise you can win.

"Unite is still in negotiations with the Students' Union to protect our members throughout the lockdown period but this is a significant step in the right direction. Unite expects high standards for workers at the best of times but we want to see all workers treated properly – regardless of their employment status – in the worst of times, too."

The workers are employed in the Sheffield Students’ Union’s bars, cafes, shops and night spots which serve over 29,000 students. Sheffield Students' Union (Sheffield SU) gets the majority of its funding from the University of Sheffield which claims to be a real Living Wage employer. Unlike other staff at Sheffield SU, casual staff are not guaranteed the real Living Wage, they have no guaranteed income and many work extremely unsociable hours.


Zero hours staff wages will be calculated based on the average hours worked during February.

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For more information contact Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.