Solidarity with Brighton UCU
Kevin Biderman, a UCU rep at Brighton University, joined us on Friday 15 September to talk about the threat of redundancy at his institution and about the actions his members are taking in support both of their jobs and of high-quality student provision at Brighton. A summary of Kevin’s talk is below:
In May, Brighton University proposed 130 redundancies, saying it wanted to save £7.3m – but while also spending £50m on building projects. The University is planning to grow student numbers, potentially causing massive workload issues for the remaining staff. Hundreds of students have been marching, calling for the VC’s resignation, and they have staged a sit in in the VC’s office. Students at Brighton are joining UCU in asking for zero redundancies, sharing the belief that the planned job cuts are a choice, not a necessity. The VC lost a vote of no confidence, with 94% of staff and students voting against them. The UCU branch held a ballot over 2 weeks, resulting in a 61% turnout and a 90% vote for local strike action in October. UCU has grey-listed Brighton – encouraging members not to apply for jobs there or engage in any collaborative projects. Brighton has deducted 100% of pay for involvement in the MAB and has said it will do the same during the upcoming strike. Brighton UCU has a strike fund which so far has received close to £100k in donations, but it needs more.