Industrial action at Sussex

Some staff at the University of Sussex and 73 other universities have voted to take industrial action this term. Find out how we are supporting you and why the strikes are happening.

What is happening

A trade union representing some University staff (University and College Union or UCU) has announced 14 days of strikes to take place over a four-week period between 20 February and 13 March 2020.

The action is in relation to ongoing disputes about pay and pensions.

In addition, Union members are taking another form of action known as action short of a strike (ASOS), running from 25 November 2019 until 29 April 2020.

We want to keep you updated with what you need to know. The University is committed to making sure the impact on your studies is at an absolute minimum and will be doing everything we can to support you.

While industrial action means disruption for many in our community, it is a legal right for workers in the UK and we’re committed to maintaining respect, safety and good relations between students and staff throughout, and beyond, any period of industrial action.

You can find out what this may mean for you and how we plan to support you.

You can also get strike terminology explained – because this is a national dispute, you have have heard about it on campus and in the news.

Read more about the background to the strikes.

What it means for you

See how you might be affected by industrial action.

When are the strikes happening?

The University received notification on Monday 3 February that some University of Sussex staff, who are members of UCU, are planning to take industrial action and go on strike for a total of 14 days.

This action will take place over four weeks:

  • Week one – Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February
  • Week two – Monday 24, Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 February
  • Week three – Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 March
  • Week four – Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March

Action short of a strike

Following the strike, there is further planned action, known as ASOS (action short of a strike). We will be releasing more information on this as soon as possible.

Who is striking?

Only University staff who were members of one of the unions, known as UCU.

They consist of about 30% of our overall workforce – the majority are academic staff.

Some teaching, but not all, is anticipated to be disrupted.

Some staff may choose to let their students know in advance if they are not going to teach a class, although they are not legally obliged to do so.

Education and studying

We have plans to put in place so you are not disadvantaged by any strike action. We will focus on making sure the impact of any industrial action is minimal.

We will put in place measures to ensure you can access your course and campus services.

Campus will be open as usual. All the core services funded by your tuition fees, such as the Library, sports centres, support services and cafes, will remain open. Teaching staff who are working on strike days will run their classes as normal.

If you have a visa

Tier 4 visa conditions are not affected by this industrial action. The usual processes for attendance monitoring applies to sessions which are not disrupted.

If a session is disrupted due to industrial action, we record this as a cancelled session. This does not have an impact on your attendance record for the purposes of your Tier 4 visa.

More about visas and immigration.