132 Views

Sussex staff set terms for first round of industrial strike action

The University and College Union (UCU) at the University of Sussex announced last week following an Emergency General Meeting that they will go on strike this Thursday 18 March, and again in the summer term. It was also decided that there will be a lobby of the university senate meeting on Wednesday 17.

The decision on 3 March to go on strike came after an overwhelming 76 percent of votes favoured industrial action in response to the proposed 115 redundancies. Eighty-two percent of UCU members voted for action short of a strike. The ballot saw an overwhelming 80.9 percent turn out of total UCU   Sussex members, breaking the union’s previous national record. Management seeks a budget reduction of £3m for 2009/10 and a further £5m in 2010/11.
The meeting, opened by the University of Sussex Student Union President Tom Wills, passed a motion that stated there will also be “strike action or action short of a strike in the summer term.” The date for this will be announced in a following meeting.
A spokesperson for the Sussex UCU said: “The strength of feeling at yet another packed EGM was palpable. Despite the ever valid concerns that any industrial action we take must be both effective and sustainable the feeling in the room that management has left us with little option was clear. Now is the time to be heard. It is clear that during this entire process, management has done nothing but increase the feeling of alienation and anger at the
management proposals.”
He added that since the ballot “there has been some movement from management.
“We think the Senate Working Group may now see all of the alternative proposals and if that is confirmed then it is clearly good news. However, management has refused the involvement of ACAS [Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service] as requested by UCU.
“We had an excellent discussion on when and how to take industrial action. There were also a number of questions around support for members who may incur financial difficulties as a result of any strike action.”
Some of the conditions for strike action were also discussed at the meeting, which stated UCU members have 28 days in which to take action; that they must take action to keep the possibility of further action and extension to the 28 days a live option; and they must give at least seven days notice of any action.
The UCU Sussex branch president, Paul Cecil, said: “Industrial action is an absolute last resort, but the university’s unwillingness to enter into meaningful negotiations has forced our hand. The bottom line is that serious job losses will impact massively on the quality of education and services we can offer here at Sussex, which will result in a far worse experience for students.”
The senate meeting this Wednesday to examine the proposal of job losses was originally to be held on Friday 5 March but in light of the ballot of the UCU members voting for strike action, the meeting was postponed.
UCU Sussex aims to negotiate a settlement on the compulsory redundancies at the university, which is supported by the USSU.
USSU President Tom Wills said: “We are right behind Sussex staff. We understand that strike action may be the key to winning this battle and we will do everything we can to support it. We will hold university management responsible for disruption to our education resulting from the strike – but moreover we will hold management responsible for the devastation that will be wrought on our education if they succeed in pushing through their cuts proposals.”
The meeting also focused on the student protest against the cuts held on 3 March outside Sussex House, as well as the reaction by university management. The protest involved around 50 students occupying the building, with two subsequent arrests and six suspensions.
The motion on the student occupation, which was passed unanimously, stated: “Sussex UCU wishes to express its deep concern at the disproportionate response of management to the occupation of Sussex House.
“Occupations are a form of protest, with a long tradition, undertaken by students in many institutions both in this country and internationally. We believe that dialogue and patience should always be the initial response of the institution unless there is an immediate and realistic threat of physical harm. The union fully supports and defends the right of lawful protest.
It described the six suspensions as “a disproportionate response, serving to inflict significant harm to the education of the students concerned and restricting their civil liberties.”
The members also urged Vice-Chancellor Michael Farthing to lift the suspensions “immediately” so that the students could  continue with their studies, and suggested that the suspensions were in breach of their human rights.
In a letter to the General Secretary of the UCU Sally Hunt on 26 February, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Paul Layzell wrote: “Nothing has changed as a result of your ballot. The University was already engaged in consultation with the three trades unions and had received constructive comments from each of them: the consultation process is the way in which the University’s Proposal for Change may be influenced – not a ballot for, or indeed any taking of industrial action.”

Paul Cecil interview page 6 >>

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
728 views1
Campus News
728 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
169 views
Arts
169 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
186 views
Arts
186 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
180 views
Arts
180 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
224 views
Arts
224 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
228 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
219 views
Arts
219 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
211 views
Arts
211 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
335 views
Campus News
335 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
172 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
468 views
Arts
468 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
214 views
Arts
214 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
311 views
Artist Focus
311 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
219 views
Interview
219 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
297 views
Arts
297 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
336 views
Arts
336 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
374 views
Arts
374 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
271 views
Artist Focus
271 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
282 views
Books
282 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
368 views
Science
368 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
340 views
News
340 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…