City centre march planned as second strike at Sussex University begins

Posted On 05 May 2010 at 8:21 am

Staff from Sussex University are on strike today.

This afternoon they will be joined by students from the Falmer campus and students from Brighton University in a march through the city centre to protest at education cuts.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at Sussex University are walking out for a second time as they try to save more than 100 jobs there.

The first strike in March, which followed student sit-in protests, saw hundreds of staff and students protesting against the redundancies.

But days later, the university approved the £5 million cuts while saying that it would continue to minimise job losses.

The union says that 112 jobs are still at risk, and IT support, the creche, most of the student advisers and the UCU executive are still set to go.

Today, protesters will meet at The Level from 4.30pm for a 5pm march to the Old Ship Hotel on Brighton seafront where a rally will take place from 5.30pm.

The UCU president Alastair Hunter is due to address demonstrators along with speakers from both universities.

Nationally, cumulative cuts of nearly £1 billion have already been announced for universities, while further education colleges – such as City College Brighton and Hove – have been told to make savings of £340 million in the next year.

UCU Sussex representative Paul Cecil said: “Staff at Sussex have been left with little option but to strike today.

“Over 100 staff are at risk of imminent redundancy notices and further cuts have already been announced which would seriously damage the quality of education we can offer current and prospective students.

“The city centre protests demonstrate that the cuts we are facing are vehemently opposed by the wider community.”

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Industrial action is always a last resort but the bottom line is that serious job losses will impact massively across the University of Sussex and result in a far worse experience for students.”

However, a university spokesman said: “Strike action does not provide a way forward for the opportunities and challenges facing the University, nor does it add to the positive consultation.

“Our main concern on the day will be to ensure that the campus continues to run as normal and that we continue to provide excellent teaching for our students and good support for our staff.”

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