Students stand with striking staff at Sussex University

University of Sussex students have halted construction on university grounds by occupying a building on site and say they will not leave until their demands are met.

The sit-in is part of today’s (March 15) student demonstrations, held to show solidarity with teaching staff who are striking over pensions.

Students taking a stand at the University of Sussex (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

Students taking a stand at the University of Sussex (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

But students are also demanding that Balfour Beatty, the company behind the construction, allow Unite the Union to access the site.

In addition, the students said they want the rent of the new student accommodation to not exceed previous rent.

A University of Sussex spokesperson said: “Balfour Beatty are the construction company responsible for building the development. We are in constant contact with Balfour Beatty, who are taking all of the appropriate measures to ensure the safety of the students and their own staff. The students have unlawfully entered the site.”

The students are also supporting teaching staff over pension changes, and a University and College Union (UCU) strike across more than 60 universities is now in its fourth week.

Students' demonstration at the University of Sussex (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

Students' demonstration at the University of Sussex (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

Sussex University vice-chancellor Adam Tickell is acting as lead negotiator for Universities UK (UUK) which is in battle with the union over the proposed changes.

Hundreds of students attended the rally on campus at 1pm today and all teaching has been cancelled.

A student spokesman said: “The result of this strike will determine the future of UK universities. If students and staff win, we can look forward to a future of free education for the good of the many, not the few.

“If we lose, prospects are bleak. It’s time to take on the bosses.”