Industrial action at Sussex

Some staff at the University of Sussex and 60 other universities voted to take industrial action in the 2019 autumn term. Find out how we are supporting you and why the strikes happened.

Why the strikes happened

A trade union representing some University staff (University and College Union or UCU) 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 were asked to take 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 were the strikes?

  • The University received notification on Tuesday 5 November that some University of Sussex staff, who are members of UCU, were planning to take industrial action and go on strike.
  • We were notified that if the strike went ahead, it would take place over eight days from November 25 until 4 December 2019.

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 was 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, was anticipated to be disrupted.
  • Some staff let their students know in advance if they were not going to teach a class, although they were not legally obliged to do so.

Education and studying

  • We put plans in place so you were not disadvantaged by any strike action. We focus on making sure the impact of any industrial action is minimal.
  • We put in place measures to ensure you could access your course and campus services.
  • Campus was open as usual. All the core services funded by your tuition fees, such as the Library, sports centres, support services and cafes, were open. Teaching staff who worked on strike days ran their classes as normal.

If you have a visa

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

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

More about visas and immigration.