Sussex universities staff to strike over pay

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Staff at three universities in Sussex are walking out tomorrow (Wednesday, May 25) as part of a national two-day strike in a row over pay.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are holding pickets from 8am at the University of Brighton’s Grand Parade campus, at the University of Sussex outside Falmer House and on Knight’s Gate Road.

The University of Brighton is currently coming under fire from students, campaigners and the community over its decision to close its Hastings campus, with thousands of people signing an online petition in protest.

Members of the UCU have also condemned the plans.

Staff at the University of Chichester are also picketing tomorrow at the Chichester campus in College Lane and the Bognor campus in Upper Bognor Road.

UCU members will also attend a rally at the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton from 2pm.

Staff are also working to contract from tomorrow, which means they will refuse to work overtime, set additional work, or undertake any voluntary duties like covering timetabled classes for absent colleagues.

If no agreement is reached in the coming weeks, members have agreed to further strike action targeting open days and graduation ceremonies in June and July.

The union is also beginning preparations for a boycott of the setting and marking of students’ work.

The dispute arose following a pay offer of 1.1 per cent from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA).

The UCU said universities could afford to pay more and the latest offer did little to address the real terms pay cut of 14.5% it says its members have suffered since 2009.

Mike Moran, regional official, said: “A 1.1 per cent pay offer is particularly insulting when we know vice-chancellors have had more than six per cent. After years of pay restraint and constant demands to do more for less, staff have said enough is enough.

“Industrial action which impacts on students is never taken lightly, but members feel that they have been left with no alternative. It’s time for universities to invest properly in teachers, researchers and administrators. The employers need to come back with a better offer which reflects the hard work of staff.”

A spokesman for the University of Brighton said: “We will be ensuring that any disruption is kept to a minimum and on both days the university will remain open for business as usual. We are not anticipating any disruption to scheduled exams and assessments.”

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