Socialist Worker

Solidarity and celebration at Sussex university strike rally

by Tom Walker, in Sussex
Issue No. 2193

Workers and students came together for a rally at Sussex university this afternoon during a successful strike by Sussex lecturers.

Up to 300 rallied and celebrated the earlier reinstatement of six suspended students – the Sussex Six.

University management suspended the students after they took part in an occupation. More students then occupied to demand their return.

The occupying students declared victory and came out to join the afternoon protest in the campus's main square.

University staff still face the threat of 115 job cuts. But many said that today has given them more confidence that they will win.

Kerith Harris, Sussex UCU vice president, is herself at risk of redundancy. She told the rally, “Today we had an enormous victory in getting the Sussex Six reinstated.

“There are still 115 left to save – the 115 staff facing redundancy.

“But if today is anything to go by, we can do it!”

The strike day saw most lectures cancelled as hundreds of students joined workers on the picket lines.

Syed Bokhari, one of the Sussex Six, told the rally, “It’s no coincidence that the strike day is the day we’ve got back on campus.

“We’re on our way to winning – united we’ll defend every job. It’s management who should be fearing for their jobs now.”

The rally ended with a march to Sussex House – the vice chancellor’s offices and symbolic scene of the occupation that led to the students' suspensions.

There, the crowd chanted, “There’s only one redundancy that we want to see – Michael Farthing, the Sussex VC!”

For more on the Sussex strike, read next week’s Socialist Worker.

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