Some staff at the University of Sussex and many other universities took industrial action in December 2021.
A trade union representing some University staff (University and College Union or UCU) announced three days of strikes between 1 December and 3 December 2021.
The action is in relation to ongoing disputes about pay, working conditions and pensions.
In addition, some UCU members may take another form of action known as action short of a strike (ASOS), running from December 2021 until April 2022. ASOS typically means staff carry out their core duties but do not take on any additional responsibilities.
We will keep you updated with what you need to know. While industrial action means disruption for some in our community, it is a legal right for workers in the UK. We’re committed to maintaining respect, safety and good relations between students and staff throughout any period of industrial action.
Why some staff are striking
The strikes are related to pensions and pay and conditions, and are not things we can solve here at Sussex.
Both pensions and pay for many staff working at universities across the UK are set by national bodies. As such they are negotiated by teams of representatives who act on behalf of the majority of universities collectively.
Because of this, Sussex only has a small amount of influence over these matters.
Education and studying
Only a minority of staff at Sussex are members of UCU and we do not know how many will choose to go on strike. That is their individual right and decision to make.
This could mean that you experience little or no disruption as a result of this industrial action. Others may find that some lectures and seminars are cancelled over the three days of strikes. For students who are impacted, we will be doing all we can to minimise this. It is our number-one priority.
UCU members don’t have to let us know if they’re striking. This may mean that we might not be able to warn you or cancel your lectures or seminars in advance.
Please be assured that if we know a teaching session is not taking place, we will inform you by sending a notification on the relevant Canvas module and/or cancelling the lecture on Sussex Direct.
Regularly check Sussex Direct or Canvas to see if your lecturer has given advance notice that your class is not taking place.
If you come to campus and your class isn’t happening, you can use the time for independent study. The Library and study spaces will be open as usual as well as other campus services, such as sports facilities, cafés and bars.
All of our non-academic services (such as the Library, student support, 24/7 security, residences, receptions, school offices, catering and sports facilities) will be providing services for students.
If you have a visa
Your visa status will not be negatively affected by strike action. If any expected sessions (such as lectures) do not happen because of strike action, this would not be your fault. We would make a record of this so it does not count against you. However, it is important you come to campus as normal with the aim of attending your classes.