Students at Sussex University are continuing an occupation in protest at plan to privatise services.
Hundreds of students held “flash occupations” of two other buildings on the campus last week. They are now gearing up for a mass protest against privatisation on Tuesday of next week.
“The mood is really good,” said Lewis Nielsen, one of the occupiers. “Now we are trying to escalate and push out. We will be demonstrating at cafes and on roads into campus to speak to catering staff who’d be affected by privatisation.”
Students hold general meetings every couple of days to plan their strategy. They are holding meetings with guest speakers on issues from LGBT oppression to struggle in Latin America.
The university announced in May that 235 workers would be transferred to private firms from August. Most are in the Unison union but some are in Unite and the GMB.
“I’ve talked to some staff who want a ballot and some solid action to be called,” said Lewis. “We want to use our occupation to push the campaign forward.”
Tom Hickey, a lecturer at Brighton university, told Socialist Worker, “The occupation is an opportunity to campaign against privatisation. A good starting point would be to hold lunchtime rallies or meetings in support of the occupation.”
Students have called a protest for Tuesday of next week from 1pm at Library Square, near the site of the occupation. They are calling for students and workers from elsewhere to join it.
“This isn’t just an issue for Sussex,” said Lewis. “Privatisation is happening on lots of campuses. If the struggle spreads it would put more pressure on management to back down.”