Union criticises Labour frontbencher for crossing university picket line
A trade union representing striking workers has criticised a Labour frontbencher after they apparently crossed a picket line while on party business.
Bill Esterson visited Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) on Friday while staff at the university were on strike.
After Mr Esterson posted photos of himself inside the centre, Jo Grady, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), tweeted: “There’s a picket line at Sheffield University. It’s hard enough for our members to see management cross the picket lines let alone Labour MPs. You know better than this, surely? Let’s hope this is a misunderstanding.”
Mr Esterson, the party’s shadow business minister, said he did not see a physical picket at the research centre and that if he had he would not have gone in. But Ms Grady said the dispute was “high profile” enough that the Labour politician should have known to stay away.
“A lot of physical picket lines were stood down yesterday because of danger posed by Storm Eunice, Bill. But the high profile dispute remains,” she said. “We have five more days strike action over the next fortnight. Do let UCU know what day you could make it to show your support.”
The AMRC is located in a business park to the east of Sheffield and not on the main university campus. The Sefton Central MP said: “There wasn’t a picket line. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have gone in.” Labour declined to add further comment.
UK news in pictures Show all 50 1 /50 UK news in pictures UK news in pictures 27 February 2022 People protest in front of the National Gallery in London against Russia’s massive military operation in Ukraine Reuters UK news in pictures 26 February 2022 The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George in the stands during the Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium, London PA UK news in pictures 25 February 2022 People head to St Mary’s Cathedral to light candles after a demonstration outside the Russian Consulate General in Edinburgh, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine PA UK news in pictures 24 February 2022 People protest against the Russian invasion on Ukraine outside Downing Street in London EPA UK news in pictures 23 February 2022 Swimmers from Hampstead Ponds cross the road in their swimming costumes outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London, as they await the result of a judicial review brought by Christina Efthimiou over whether the charges for bathing at the ponds in Hampstead Heath unlawfully discriminate against disabled people PA UK news in pictures 22 February 2022 Runners line up for the start of The Anshin Security Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at Taunton Racecourse Getty UK news in pictures 21 February 2022 Shoes on display at the ROKER AW22 presentation at London Fashion Week, in London EPA UK news in pictures 20 February 2022 The waters of the River Severn in edge towards homes in Ironbridge, Shropshire, as more wet and windy weather is set to sweep the UK. Storm Franklin is set to strike the UK just days after Storm Eunice destroyed buildings and left 1.4 million homes without power PA UK news in pictures 19 February 2022 Damaged caused to home of Dominic Good, in Stondon Massey, near Brentwood, Essex, after a 400-year-old oak tree in his garden was uprooted by Storm Eunice. PA UK news in pictures 17 February 2021 Activists from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) protest against the use of feathers in clothing, ahead of London Fashion Week Reuters UK news in pictures 16 February 2022 Waves crashing on the seafront at Blackpool before Storm Dudley hits the north of England PA UK news in pictures 15 February 2022 Hailey Duff, left, Vicky Wright, centre and Jennifer Dodds in action for Great Britsin during their women’s curling round robin match against Japan at the Beijing Winter Olympics. Team GB sealed a 10-4 victory Reuters UK news in pictures 14 February 2022 Members of the Household Cavalry walk past Wellington Arch and a large inflatable heart, on Valentine’s Day in London Reuters UK news in pictures 13 February 2022 People in costume attend the Whitby Steampunk Weekend in Yorkshire PA UK news in pictures 12 February 2022 People in Parliament Square, London, take part in the People’s Assembly nationwide protest about cost of living crisis PA UK news in pictures 11 February 2022 Romney sheep graze the grass around the dormant vines at Nyetimber’s Manor Vineyard at West Chiltington in West Sussex. The herd from a local farm form part of Nyetimber’s sustainability program and are utilised for vineyard maintenance, keeping the grass low, reducing the risk of frost, maintaining grass leys on the estate and saving the cost of fuel for mowing PA UK news in pictures 10 February 2022 Alice Wyllie looks at projections featuring details of some of the illustration plates during the press view for Audubon’s Birds of America exhibition at the National Museum Of Scotland, Edinburgh PA UK news in pictures 9 February 2022 New arrival Upendi and mother Cheka in the bonobo enclosure at Twycross Zoo, Leicestershire PA UK news in pictures 8 February 2022 Workers move a crate containing Season’s Greetings by street artist Banksy from a retail unit at Ty’r Orsaf, Port Talbot, prior to its journey to a temporary storage unit at an undisclosed location PA UK news in pictures 7 February 2022 Dog walkers enjoy the early morning sunrise at Tynemouth Beach in North Tyneside, on the north east coast of England PA UK news in pictures 6 February 2022 A Leicester City invades the pitch as Nottingham Forest celebrate scoring their side’s third goal of the game during the Emirates FA Cup fourth round match at the City Ground, Nottingham PA UK news in pictures 5 February 2022 Stadium staff remove a flare from the pitch during the Emirates FA Cup fourth round match at Selhurst Park PA UK news in pictures 4 February 2022 “The Nuba Survival” is a five-metre-tall statue of two skeletons locked in an embrace in Checkendon, Oxfordshire. The statue was created by local artist John Buckley PA UK news in pictures 3 February 2022 Kew horticulturists attending to the ‘Rising sun’ display at the Kew Orchid Festival: Costa Rica, at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, west London PA UK news in pictures 2 February 2022 Protesters campaign against corruption in London EPA UK news in pictures 1 February 2022 Lorries queue for the Port of Dover in Kent, as the Dover TAP is enforced due to the high volume of lorries waiting to cross the Channel PA UK news in pictures 31 January 2022 Nelson Beaumont-Laurencia applies finishing touches to a sculpture of a tiger, commissioned by Manchester Business Improvement District to celebrate the Chinese New Year, is unveiled in St Ann’s Square PA UK news in pictures 30 January 2022 A house on Overhill terrace in Gateshead, lost its roof on 29 January after strong winds from Storm Malik battered northern parts of the UK PA UK news in pictures 29 January 2022 A newly painted bicycle sign is seen on the middle of the road at Westminster Bridge, as the new Highway Code rules start today together with giving pedestrians priority at junctions Reuters UK news in pictures 28 January 2022 School children take part in a rally in support of British Sign Language becoming a recognised language in the UK, outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, as the British Sign Language Private Members’ Bill, introduced by Rosie Cooper MP, reaches its second reading in the House PA UK news in pictures 27 January 2022 A rare six-week-old southern white rhino calf called Zawadi, explores her paddock for the first time at Africa Alive! in Lowestoft PA UK news in pictures 26 January 2022 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson jogs with his dog Dilyn, in London REUTERS UK news in pictures 25 January 2022 A member of staff looks at Francis Bacon’s work ‘Second Version of Triptych 1944’ on display in the Francis Bacon: Man and Beast exhibition at the the Royal Academy of Arts in London PA UK news in pictures 24 January 2022 Rowers (front to back) Charlotte Irving, Kat Cordiner and Abby Johnston, on their way to shatter the world record for rowing across the Atlantic PA UK news in pictures 23 January 2022 A grey seal pup on the beach at Horsey Gap in Norfolk, as the pupping season draws to a close at one of the UK’s most important sites for the mammals PA UK news in pictures 22 January 2022 Participants prepare to take part in the Crisis icebreaker cold water challenge at Tooting Bec Lido in London EPA UK news in pictures 21 January 2022 Willesborough Windmill, a white smock mill built in 1869 is bathed in the morning sunshine as the moon sets behind in Ashford, Kent PA UK news in pictures 20 January 2022 A jet skier jumps the waves off the coast at Blyth in Northumberland PA UK news in pictures 19 January 2022 Britain’s Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, participate in a therapy session with individuals who have experienced the care system, during a visit to the Foundling Museum in London REUTERS UK news in pictures 18 January 2022 Surfers enter the sea as the sun rises over Tynemouth on the North East coast PA UK news in pictures 17 January 2022 Bonhams’ Danny McIlwraith holds a Nigerian polycrome carved wood mask during a photocall for the sale of the Jim Lennon Collection at Bonhams in Edinburgh PA UK news in pictures 16 January 2022 The moon rises above the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, Hampshire PA UK news in pictures 15 January 2022 Demonstrators outside Downing Street during a ‘Kill The Bill’ protest against The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in London PA UK news in pictures 14 January 2022 Ecologist Emma Smart (left) and retired GP Dr Diana Warner outside HMP Bronzefield, in Surrey, following their release from the prison where Emma undertook a 26-day hunger strike during her incarceration. Ms Smart was sentenced in November, along with other members of Insulate Britain, to serve four months for breaking a High Court injunction by taking part in a blockade at junction 25 of the M25 motorway during the morning rush hour on 8 October last year PA UK news in pictures 13 January 2022 A TV presenter holds a copy of a newspaper outside 10 Downing Streetafter the Prime Minister apologised for attending a gathering of colleagues in the Number Ten garden in May 2020, while the UK was in strict lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic Getty UK news in pictures 12 January 2022 Fitness guru Derrick Evans after receiving an MBE during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle PA UK news in pictures 11 January 2022 A couple walk underneath an umbrella during wet weather on Westminster Bridge in central London PA UK news in pictures 10 January 2022 A jogger passes the Covid Memorial Wall in London AP UK news in pictures 9 January 2021 The sun rises over horses at Seaton Sluice in Northumberland PA UK news in pictures 8 January 2022 Riders compete during the Veterans Men’s race at the UK Cyclo-Cross National Championships 2022 in Ardingly, south of London AFP/Getty
It is the second time in recent months that Labour politicians have been criticised for crossing picket lines in Sheffield. In December, Sheffield City council leader Terry Fox walked past protesting staff and into a university building before re-emerging to say he had decided not to cross the picket to attend a council meeting there in solidarity with workers.
But those on strike outside pointed out that Mr Fox and other Labour councillors had already crossed their picket on the way in. Academic staff represented by UCU are on strike across the UK over a dispute about pensions, pay and working conditions.