Human Resources

Industrial action 2021

Why the strikes are happening

Sussex has received notification from the University and College Union (UCU) that Sussex is one of the universities where its members have voted in favour of industrial action over pensions and pay and working conditions.

UCU have announced that 58 universities – including Sussex – will face industrial action in respect of the disputes on pay and conditions, on pensions or on both.

This action will be taking place on:

  • Wednesday 1 December 2021
  • Thursday, 2 December 2021
  • Friday, 3 December 2021

This is along with a longer period of action short of a strike (known as ASOS).

Why is the industrial action happening?
These are long-running disputes. Earlier this month UCU members backed strike action in two separate ballots, one over changes to the USS pension scheme and one over pay and conditions.

This is after employers in USS, including the University of Sussex, agreed to make even stronger promises to the pension scheme to provide defined benefit pensions at affordable levels for scheme members and employers.

Pay is negotiated at a national level and the University supported the pay uplift for staff that was implemented in August.

Improving the work environment for all staff is something we care about deeply – and a number of projects are underway to improve the various issues that contribute to this. We have finite resources, and we have to be able to balance delivering an education and experience for our students with the income we receive, which largely comes from tuition fees.

What next?
Our focus has been, and will continue to be, minimising the disruption to our students and their learning outcomes.

We would ask that all staff who intend to take strike action cancel classes in advance on Sussex Direct or via an announcement on your Canvas module..

We are providing a wide range of information to students, including what they can expect during the industrial action, and making them aware of the information available on the Student Hub.

It would be very helpful if you are asked for information from a student to direct them to the Student Hub, as we aim to contain advice in this one place as much as possible.

Alongside our commitment to our students, the welfare of our staff is also very important and we must provide the space for different views and decisions, while maintaining a culture of dignity and respect. If you woudl like additional support please visit our wellbeing hub.

You can also get strike terminology explained – because this is a national dispute, you’ll probably hear about it on campus and in the news.