Brighton and Sussex lecturers set to strike again

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Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are set to strike in February and March at the University of Sussex and the University of Brighton as part of an ongoing dispute with employers regarding pay, pensions and working conditions. 

Seventy-four UK universities will be hit with 14 days of strike action, which will start on Thursday 20th February and escalate each week, culminating in a week-long walkout from Monday 9th to Friday 13th March.

UCU members at 60 universities previously walked out for eight days in November and December last year in action that affected around one million students. This next wave of strikes will affect an extra 14 universities and an additional 200,000 students, as more UCU branches crossed the 50% turnout threshold required by law for them to take industrial action.

As well as the strike days, union members are undertaking “action short of a strike”. This involves things like working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said:

We have seen more members back strikes since the winter walkouts and this next wave of action will affect even more universities and students. If universities want to avoid further disruption they need to deal with rising pension costs, and address the problems over pay and conditions.

We have been clear from the outset that we would take serious and sustained industrial action if that was what was needed.

We asked first-year University of Sussex student Beatrice for her reaction to the announcement:

While its frustrating to miss seminars and lectures that we’re paying a lot of money for, I understand that our lecturers have been left with no choice but to strike. The universities are refusing to negotiate with them, so I don’t know what else they can do. The changes to their pensions are huge – they stand to lose so much money, as well as constantly having to work longer hours for no extra pay.

Featured image: © Wikimedia Commons

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