Sussex students have started a petition to the University of Sussex requesting that wages that would have been paid to striking staff be placed instead into a hardship fund. The petition was started on Tuesday 13th of February and at the time of writing has garnered 215 signatures.
The University and College Union (UCU) has called 14 days of strike action spanning four weeks, for which striking staff will not be paid, due to a dispute over pensions.
When asked about the petition, a University of Sussex Spokesperson told The Badger that “although UCU has notified the University of the dates of the industrial action, it is too early to say what will happen or how many staff will go on strike. Our focus at the moment is ensuring that we can put in place arrangements to minimise the disruption to our students’ education.”.
The Change.org petition was posted on Facebook by a group of students showing solidarity with striking staff. It claims that a fund is needed as working class and international students “will be hardest hit by the crisis”, but that student refunds for cancelled lectures is ‘unrealistic and unachievable’.
The students refer to the National Union of Students’ Homes Fit for Study report released this month as evidence that a hardship fund is necessary, with more students having to study at home rather than on campus. The report claims that 42% of surveyed students struggled to pay their energy bills and 55% claimed their accommodation was ‘much’ or ‘a bit colder’ than they would prefer.
Image courtesy of Nick Youngson