Up to 1,000 students demonstrated at the University of Sussex on Monday of this week, against management’s plans to privatise the jobs of 235 workers.
Students who have been occupying at the university since 8 February called the protest. Students came from across England to join the protest, including from Warwick, Manchester, Oxford and London.
Occupier Lewis Nielsen told Socialist Worker, “We’ve shown management that we can call protests on campus that they can’t control.”
Police were called onto campus but at several points were held back by students.
“We had a general meeting with around 600 people,” Lewis went on. “A representative from each university spoke about how they’re fighting privatisation and what we should do next.
“The meeting agreed to call another national day of action in a few weeks, maybe at another university facing privatisation.”
Students occupied cafes marked for privatisation in the morning. Workers were pleased and some took the opportunity to join the protest.
But some workers, frustrated with lack of action from their unions, have set up a breakaway “pop-up” union.
This will not solve the problem and instead risks splitting workers off from each other. Workers and students must keep campaigning against the plans and put pressure on unions to ballot members for strikes.
Privatisation protest at University of Central Lancashire
Over 100 staff and students from the University of Central Lancashire protested on Thursday of last week against plans to make it the first public university to be fully privatised in Britain.
The march was timed to coincide with the Board of Directors meeting to decide whether to pursue a private company limited by guarantee status.
Petitions of nearly 3,000 staff and students opposing the move were handed in.
The demonstration ended with a teach-in, where people worked together to come up with plans to fight the move.
The students’ union declined to back the demonstration, arguing that the plans would give greater autonomy to the university from central government.