Staff and students rallied against planned privatisation of over 10% of campus jobs in Library Square this lunchtime. Staff had come equipped to disrupt a planned 'bidders meeting' with many carrying airhorns, only to discover management had moved the meeting to the Amex stadium across the road. With security and conference staff amongst those facing outsourcing, suggests management don't feel able to hold such meetings on campus without the details leaking out and the threat of disruption.
THIS Saturday (29th May 2010), 12pm – 6pm in Brighton. Join the Facebook event. Venue to be confirmed very soon here and on Facebook.
As a new government is getting ready to attack the living conditions of ordinary people, students and education workers have already had experiences with cuts – and how we can stop them. We will try to draw the lessons from the strikes, occupations and other forms of direct action taken in HE and FE over the last months. How can we build effective alliances between students and workers? How can we act in solidarity across education establishments? How can we organise from below to defend education?
National conference with talks and workshops, open to students and education workers.
Sir Ian Blair, ex Commissioner of the Met Police was meant to give a talk at Sussex university last night, but faced disruption from students - see the report below.
In time for Freshers Fair, we've printed some of Ed Goddard's excellent pamphlet on student radicalism at Sussex. Ed Goddard is a former member of Brighton SF currently living in Italy, and an admin of the libcom.org website. Come see us on the Anarchist Society stall to get a copy, or download as a pdf here.
As part of a national strike day, members of UCU at Sussex university have been picketing. They were joined by other education workers and students at the entrance to campus who expressed their support for industrial action.
UCU are involved in a series of rolling strikes across the UK which started last week in Scotland and culminate in a FE and HE strike on Thursday. Strikes are nominally over changes to the pension scheme, however at Sussex it was clear that strikers see this as part of the wider fight against austerity. This was also in evidence from the solidarity from students and education workers well beyond the UCU membership.
A postgraduate student at Sussex university assesses the future facing graduates.
Higher Education faces significant changes in the coming years as universities move to a market based model. Tuition and top-up fees are perhaps the more visible signs of this but many institutions are now seeing changes which, among other things, significantly affect education workers’ terms and conditions. Union responses so far have seen conferences like NUS’s (National Union of Students) ‘Reclaim the Campus’ and UCU’s ‘Challenging the market in education’ (University and College Union)
As the scale of the budget cut-backs begins to sink in, there are signs of a nascent movement against the cuts, with hundreds attending public meetings across the country, including a packed-out meeting in Brighton for the local launch of the Stop the Cuts Coalition. The last time this many people were mobilised, over a million marched through London with the Stop the War Coalition against the Iraq war. But Blair called our bluff and the war went ahead. What can we learn from these experiences for the fight against cuts?
After the massive demonstrations in London, many in Brighton felt that sheer numbers alone weren’t enough. Instead, the anti-war movement in Brighton took a different path, based on mass direct action.
The academics’ union UCU at the University of Sussex cancelled industrial action planned for late June after university bosses declared they were “hopeful” they could avoid any compulsory redundancies.
It soon emerged however that compulsory redundancies had been transformed into ‘voluntary’ ones and the number of job losses remained at over 100, with a similarly severe impact on many courses and workloads expected.
One student mocked the management statement: “We are pleased to announce that the 100 have jumped, and were not pushed. The knives to their backs were unrelated.” A lecturer also commented that “I, among many, have been made ‘voluntarily’ redundant, after being selected for compulsory redundancy. The University seems to have got rid of everyone it wanted by forcing us to accept a ‘voluntary’ settlement.”