University lecturers at Brighton and Sussex to strike

Posted On 21 Mar 2011 at 9:52 pm

Staff at Brighton’s two universities are to take part in a national strike this week in a row over pensions.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at Sussex University will strike for the first of days tomorrow (Tuesday 22 March).

Staff from Brighton University are expected to strike on Thursday (24 March) when, with their Sussex colleagues, they will take part in a national one-day strike affecting 47 universities.

At Sussex lecturers plan to picket the Falmer House entrance to the campus from 7am to 3pm, with UCU general secretary Sally Hunt planning to join them in Falmer at 10am.

UCU Sussex branch member Luke Martell said: “Sussex staff really value their pension rights and have made it clear from the start of this dispute that if the employers were not prepared to negotiate then we would be left with little option but to take strike action.”

Sally Hunt, said: “Strike action is always a last resort and we have always wanted to meet the employers to avoid widespread disruptions.

“However, both sides had to be prepared to go that extra mile and the employers clearly weren’t.

“I share the frustration that students must be feeling at the employers’ intransigence.”

Jelena Timotijevic, of the Brighton University UCU co-ordinating committee, said: “Members of the UCU at all colleges and universities across the UK will be on strike on Thursday 24 March to protest over changes to pension schemes, jobs’ losses and pay cuts.

“This is the first national strike in higher education for five years.

“Join the pickets with your lecturers for the day and talk to other students between now and then.

“Explain what is going on and that this is a defence of education as much as is the struggle against the fees’ rise.”

She said that the changes to pension rules would leave an average lecturer £30,000 to £65,000 poorer during their retirement despite each of them having to contribute more while working.

The National Union of Students has written to the employers urging them to join UCU for talks and to try to avoid strike action.

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