Brighton university workers on indefinite strike are itching to unleash the full force of their action on employers who are trying to ram through compulsory redundancies. They are confident that when teaching fully resumes next month their action will squeeze bosses and defeat the job cuts.
But they are keeping up the pressure now by maintaining the strike and building support. “We had a meeting on Wednesday with over 60 people at it,” union UCU branch chair Mark Abel told Socialist Worker. “That’s very good for August. It shows how determined people are to win.
“We leafleted the big Pride event in Brighton last weekend and have events planned for A-level results day on 17 August.” Postgraduate researchers that the university might hope to use as scabs have reasserted their determination to stand with the strikers.
“Teaching will not happen in September unless Brighton Uni ends this horrific attack on academics,” their organising group tweeted this week. Researcher Maia C Brons added, “I just received the first request to express interest in PGR teaching at Brighton next academic year.
“May I remind management that I will not participate in their managed decline of the university nor will I clean up their mess. “Brighton University is closed until further notice.”
Mark says, “This is a crucial battle. When the university first officially notified redundancies it said it wanted between 80 and 97 to go. “It has already got 83 ‘voluntary’ job cuts, but still ways it wants 22 compulsory ones. That means 105 jobs to go, more than the upper end of its notification.”
“They are determined to have compulsory redundancies so that they are seen to win a battle.
“They will soon be under immense pressure. Do they think they can restart the academic year with the university in turmoil? All those freshers will turn up to find that it’s a battlefield with nothing normal at all.
The cuts would mean a huge reduction in lecturers in subjects including art, media, education, architecture, engineering, humanities and sport science.
Defeating them would be a boost to workers fighting redundancies everywhere. The University of Huddersfield announced mass job cuts just before the summer leave period. The UCU estimates that around 50 of the 105 staff at risk of redundancy could lose their jobs.
If the cuts go ahead it will be the fifth round of redundancies the university has forced through in the past four years—and the third year in a row that the arts and humanities department has been cut.
And the University of Chichester has threatened to axe a unique African history course and sack Britain’s first African‑British professor of history, professor Hakim Adi. The move is part of a wider review which has put four permanent academic staff under threat of redundancy.
Professor Adi is Britain’s first and only professor of the history of Africa and the African diaspora. The spreading threat to jobs reinforces the importance of the Brighton fightback—and that the union at every level must give full solidarity.
The UCU union has “greylisted” the University of Brighton because of the job cuts.
This means the union is asking its members, other trade unions, labour movement organisations and all academics to show support by measures including:
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