UCU union members at Brighton university held a solid second day of strikes on Monday of this week.
Workers are fighting plans to impose redundancies in the IT department.
They kicked off the walkouts with a strike on Wednesday of last week, and planned to be out again on Thursday.
Mark Abel is chair of the union branch at Brighton university. He told Socialist Worker, “Our strikes so far have been really good. We had a big picket on day one with quite a lot of students on it, and then had a fantastic online rally with 275 people.
“On Monday, we had a picket in central Brighton and ran a zoom link with Rolls-Royce strikers in Barnoldswick.”
Workers plan a further rally on Thursday, with John McDonnell MP, other workers fighting redundancies and student rent strikers.
University bosses want to impose compulsory redundancies in the IT department—at a time when many staff work from home and rely on IT support.
Most of those affected are in the Unison union, with a couple in UCU.
Mark said bosses may be testing workers’ resolve to fight back ahead of more possible attacks.
“The university is desperate to impose redundancies,” he said. “We think that they want to do so in order to set a precedent for next year. They have just done a restructure that requires fewer admin staff. So admin staff are expecting a cull.
“Other universities have been shedding academic staff, so we think that’s on the cards as well.”
The Brighton strike comes as higher education workers across Britain face attacks on their jobs, pay and conditions. But more and more are resisting.
UCU members at Northumbria university voted for strikes last month over health and safety concerns.
Those at Birmingham City University are currently balloting for action.
And UCU members at Roehampton University backed strikes in a consultative ballot last week. Some 64 percent supported strikes and 88 percent action short of a strike, on a 70 percent turnout.
University bosses are using the coronavirus crisis to push through attacks. More resistance is urgently needed to defend workers—and students’ education.
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