University open day disrupted by pay dispute protest

Protestors at the University of Brighton. Picture: Mark Tovey
Protestors at the University of Brighton. Picture: Mark Tovey

A protest group disrupted a University of Brighton open day today (25th March) to dispute a contract change that has slashed some employees’ wages by 70 per cent.

Parents and A-level students attending the open day were forced to crawl under a banner that read ‘70 per cent cutback, 100 per cent fightback’.

Security formed a barrier to keep the approximately 60 protesters from entering Cockroft Building on the Moulsecoomb campus.

One parent said: “I drove for four hours for this. It’s a joke, we should be allowed in.”

20 protesters forced their way through a back entry before being stopped by police officers who had escorted the protesters on a march from The Level to the Moulsecoomb Campus.

The disputed contract change occurred in October 2016 and affected postgraduate students employed in the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics.

Their job titles were downgraded from lecturer to demonstrator leaving them with 30 per cent of their wages.

Third-year undergraduates have been used to replace postgraduates who refused to work at the lowered rates.

University of Brighton student Niamh Rodda said: “The people in my year and below are going to end up being taught by other people on my degree course.

“It’s no education at all. I could sit around with my friends and do that.”

The protest was organised by two groups called Precarious Workers Brighton and Alt-Students’ Union.

The University of Brighton has been approached for comment.

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