Industrial action at Sussex

Some staff at the University of Sussex and 60 other universities have voted to take industrial action this term. Find out how we are supporting you through the strikes and why they are happening.

Why the strikes are happening

A trade union representing some University staff (University and College Union or UCU) has announced eight days of strikes, between 25 November and 4 December (inclusive), in relation to ongoing disputes about pay and pensions.

In addition, Union members are being asked to take another form of action known as action short of a strike (ASOS) between 25 November 2019 and 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.

Whilst industrial action will mean 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’ll probably hear about it on campus and in the news.

Read more about the background to the strikes.

What this means for you

See how you might be affected by the industrial action.

When are the strikes?

  • The University received notification on Tuesday 5 November that some University of Sussex staff, who are members of UCU are planning to take industrial action and go on strike.
  • We have been notified that if the strike goes ahead, it will take place over eight days from November 25 until 4 December 2019.
  • Following that there is further planned action, known as ASOS (action short of a strike). The University does not yet know what form of ASOS will take place, and will be releasing information as soon as possible.

Who will be striking?

  • Only University staff who are 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 will be disrupted, but not all, and we will know more soon.
  • Some staff will 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 put plans in place so you will not be disadvantaged as a consequence of any strike action. We are focused on making sure the impact on you of any industrial action is minimal.
  • We will be putting in place measures to ensure you can continue to access your course and the services on campus.
  • If there is a strike, the 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 be operating. Teaching staff who are working on strike days will be running their classes as normal.
  • Closer to the time, all students will be emailed to let them know about on-campus arrangements, including travel details and other information on services.

If you have a visa

Your Tier 4 visa conditions are not affected by the industrial action. Unless you are specifically told a session has been disrupted, attend as normal. The usual processes for attendance monitoring will apply to sessions which are not disrupted.

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

More about visas and immigration.