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Students' Union Executive Statement on UCU Strike



UCU members at the University of Sussex will be on strike on Wednesday 15th June. Members will be on a picket line on Southern Ring Road opposite Falmer House, on the pathway that joins the A27 Lewes Road to Falmer Railway station, and on the Knights Gate Road entrance to the campus, from 7am-3pm. 

UCU members at Sussex who would normally be taking part in examination boards in the Schools of Law; Politics and Sociology; Business, Management and Economics; Life Sciences; and Psychology and Global Studies, will not attend them. We will update this when more information becomes available.

The Students' Union Undergraduate Education Officer, Postgraduate Education Officer and President will not be attending the University's Senate in solidarity with staff on strike

The Students’ Union Executive (6 Full-Time Officers and 4 Part-Time Officers) support the two days of national strike action confirmed by the University and College Union (UCU).

UCU members working in higher education have voted in favour of strike action in UK universities in a row over pay and working conditions. The dispute has arisen following a pay offer of 1.1% from the employer body, the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association (UCEA). UCU have stated that that the latest offer does little to address the real terms pay cut of 14.5% suffered by higher education staff since 2009. Further to this, the gender pay gap means female academics are still paid on average 12.6% less than their male counterparts and over 75,000 academic staff are employed on insecure contracts like zero-hours or fixed-term posts. All of this is in the context of a rising cost of living. 

There will be two days of strike action on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 May. UCU members have also been asked to work strictly to the terms of their contracts from 25 May.  

We understand that some students will feel angry about the strike action and the impact that it may have on their learning. However the poor pay and working conditions of teaching staff will impact students, as overworked and underpaid staff will not be able to deliver the best teaching possible. PhD students who teach are also particularly affected by insecure contracts. 

We have been assured by UCU representatives that they do not intend for the strike action to interfere with students’ exams or assessments.

We ask that all Sussex students stand in solidarity with their fellow students and staff; we must not be divided by these attempts to undermine our educators. Our anger should be aimed at university managements, Universities UK and University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) who allow lucrative salary increases for vice-chancellors at the expense of staff; in 2014/15 the average vice-chancellor salary was £272,432, which was a 3% increase on the previous year and was 6.7 times the average pay of their staff that year.

How can you help?

  • Join staff on the picket line on Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th May.
  • Use the hashtag #fairpayinHE on social media
  • Write to the Vice-Chancellor and urge them to instruct UCEA to make an improved offer which acknowledges the concerns raised by staff. - vc@sussex.ac.uk
  • If you are a PhD student who teaches we encourage you to become a member of a trade union such as UCU.

You can find out more about the strike in our FAQs.



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