University staff to strike over ‘demotions and redundancies’

University of Brighton's Grand Parade campus
University of Brighton's Grand Parade campus

Staff at the University of Brighton - which has campuses in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings - will walk out from 1pm next Friday (March 31).

The move is part of a dispute over plans to limit promotions, downgrade teaching staff and make others redundant, a union has said

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) will also begin working to contract from next Friday, and senior lecturers will not do any work which is wholly that of a principal lecturer.

A further two days of strike action are planned for Wednesday, April 26 and Thursday, April 27 if no resolution is reached.

The union said the dispute arose after the university ‘breached longstanding agreements’ negotiated with the UCU about the working conditions of all academic staff.

It said that the ‘multiple and persistent nature’ of these breaches threatens the status of the UCU as the union recognised to negotiate on behalf of academic staff at the University of Brighton.

Members backed industrial action in a ballot last month, with three-quarters (77 per cent) voting for strike action and 85 per cent backing action short of a strike.

Michael Moran, UCU regional official, said: “The university’s plan to downgrade teaching staff, make others redundant, and refuse promotion opportunities is an insult to hardworking staff and a serious threat to the quality of education on offer. By repeatedly ignoring agreed procedures for changing working conditions, the university has also shown a blatant disregard for its employees and the union which represents them.

“Strike action is always a last resort, but in the face of such sweeping changes staff feel they have little choice. We urge the university to sit down with UCU and explore alternatives to these damaging plans.”

The University of Brighton has been contacted for a comment.