Is an end to Sussex Uni's problems in sight?

Strike action and protests at the University of Sussex could be drawing to a close after the union said it had its “most positive meeting” so far with university management on Saturday morning.

The University and College Union met with outgoing deputy vice chancellor Paul Layzell, who made “positive gestures” towards further negotiation and the possible involvement of ACAS, as well as working towards a future strategy to avoid redundancy.

It says it will now work hard to ensure that no staff will be given letters on July 1, the day notice is due to be served to the 100 or so staff who currently stand to lose their jobs.

The union said: “The impact of our strike yesterday, the management defeats in senate over the Sussex Six [the students who had been suspended over the protest] (now reinstated and the successful call by senators for an independent inquiry) are all having a direct impact.

“The strength and determination show by our members yesterday is a message that management cannot fail to have heard. It is because of our willingness to stand up and be counted that we are able cautiously to bring you good news.”

Mr Layzell, who is taking up a post at the Royal Holloway University, is the second of the university’s senior management team to leave since the start of consultation over the job cuts, after Pro Vice Chancellor for Education Joanne Wright left in January.

The union said: “I am sure they have excellent reasons for their moves, but we would prefer to see more commitment to the future of this institution from our management team.

“We also call on the Vice Chancellor to consider carefully the opportunity the DVC’s departure offers to thin down the overall cost of management at Sussex, which as we know has increased relentlessly over the past few years.”

The university’s council will meet again on March 26.

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