Industrial action questions

Here are some of the most common questions about the strikes taking place at Sussex from 25 November until 4 December 2019.

Essential information

Who is going on strike?

We don’t know exactly. This is because staff do not have to tell us in advance if they are going on strike.

How will this affect my classes?

We will do everything we can to minimise the impact on your education. Your lecturers/tutors may notify you if they are going on strike and are cancelling a class, however they are not legally required to do so. We advise you to continue to attend your classes as usual unless you hear otherwise.

How will I find out if my classes are cancelled or rearranged?

Check Sussex Direct and/or Canvas to see if your lecturer has given advance notice that your class is not taking place.

Will I be able to get onto campus?

Yes, the campus will be open as normal, including the library and cafes. We expect there to be a small number of striking staff at the two entrances to campus. This is known as a picket line. The picket line is organised by the union to encourage staff not to work and to join the strike. Pickets are not allowed to stop people entering campus and you will be able to walk through these.

Will this impact my assessments?

Assessments and examinations will be amended to ensure you are not assessed on any content that may not be delivered because of the industrial action. Any assessments that were due to take place during the strike period, but did not take place, will be rescheduled to take place as soon as possible after the strike finishes on 4 December. You will be notified by your School if this is the case.

There will not be a change in deadlines for assessments due on strike days that are to be handed in through Turnitin or Canvas, unless you have been notified by your School.

Will I be penalised for missing lectures that were cancelled because of industrial action?

No. You will not be penalised for non-attendance where classes were cancelled due to the industrial action.

Will buses and trains be running as normal?

Buses will be travelling to the University throughout the industrial action. Buses will come on to campus as usual after 3pm and continue until 7.30am the following morning. Between 7.30am and 3pm they are likely to stop just outside campus on the A27 slip road and then near Falmer Station. For service updates, see the Brighton & Hove Buses website.

A shuttle bus service around the campus for disabled students and staff using public transport will be provided from 9.30am until 3.30pm. See the shuttle bus route [PDF 850KB]. This will operate from the Biology Road bus stop on the Southern Ring Road. You can show the driver a Helping Hand card, a Disabled Person’s Bus Pass or a Sunflower Lanyard to ensure those most in need can use the service. There will also be a wheelchair-accessible taxi from 7.30am until 9.30am for students who need it, collecting from the bus stop opposite Biology Road (circled at the bottom of this map [PDF 850KB]). To speak to someone about the taxi service, call 01273 873465.

If you have a disability and need more advice, contact the Student Support Unit on 01273 877466 or email disabilitysupport@sussex.ac.uk.

Trains will be running as normal on strike days. However, there is some unrelated Network Rail work that means buses will replace trains between Brighton and Lewes (including Falmer Station) from Friday 29 November to Sunday 1 December. Find out more information.

What is action short of a strike (ASOS)?

The University and College Union (UCU) has a mandate to carry out action short of a strike (or ASOS) until the end of April 2020. This most commonly means that staff members taking part in this type of industrial action will not undertake what they see as non-core activities (such as covering absent colleagues or taking part in voluntary activities). Therefore they may decline to do things that are not seen as part of their normal working practices.

Action short of a strike should not impact on your scheduled teaching. It also means that you can continue to speak with your tutors, arrange to see them or get the support that you need to complete your modules.

It is likely that we will know more about the specifics of what is happening in different schools of study when term starts again in January – and we will continue to keep you updated then.

Can I request a financial payment because of the strike?

At the present time, the University is focused on understanding the impact of the recent strike action for students and we are continuing with putting measures in place to ensure that we minimise any impact as much as possible. We are also establishing what the impact may be on students on the current industrial action underway known as ASOS (or action short of a strike).

Find out more about ASOS above.

It is important to note that the University has remained open throughout the recent and continuing industrial action with many of the services that your tuition fees fund, such as the Library, social spaces, support services, the sports centres and the wide array of study spaces, open to all.

While a considerable amount of teaching and learning did proceed as normal, we do know that for many students this was not the case.

Although we may not be able to fully understand the impact on individual students until the whole period of industrial action is over, we will let students know more about our procedure to register a complaint next term.

Can students cross the picket line?

Yes, students can cross a picket line. Picket lines are allowed by law (the recommended limit per picket line is 6) and must operate peacefully.

Those on the picket line cannot prevent free movement so please don’t feel anxious about getting around campus – you are entitled to move around freely and the picket line won’t obstruct you from doing so.

The University remains open and we are confident that everyone will continue to be respectful and kind.

See more from Industrial action at Sussex