University Of Brighton staff strike over pay

UNISON and UCU members brave the cold to strike over pay freeze

University Of Brighton staff and UNISON activists were out in force in the city on Thursday after voting for strike action in a dispute over pay.

Picket lines formed early on a cold and dark morning, with some activists arriving at 5.30am, with pickets on all four University Of Brighton sites. Activists braving chilly temperatures were eventually rewarded with a crisp and bright, sunny day with strong levels of support from passing traffic and students.

At midday a march left the University’s Moulsecoomb campus and headed into town, accompanied by a road closure and police escort. UNISON, UCU and students joined the march around the city centre, followed by a rally at The Level, with speakers from both unions and local trades councils.

UNISON University Of Brighton branch secretary Ivan Bonsell was one of the speakers at the rally, who had this to say about the day’s action:

“Alongside UCU, who were midway through their “Four Fights” campaign, dozens of our members were on the picket lines at all four campuses in Brighton and Eastbourne demanding decent pay, with students from both Brighton and Sussex universities showing their support. Speakers made the case for decent pay for all higher education staff, an end to tuition fees and for a fully publicly funded education system.

If the University of Brighton leadership doesn’t think again about refusing to even discuss a bonus payment – a discussion we’re still very willing to have – we’ll be out again in the New Year until we have a settlement our members are willing to accept.”

Employees at the University of Brighton voted overwhelmingly to strike after all staff in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland had their pay frozen last year. Since then, UNISON has in good faith attempted to negotiate locally to avoid industrial action. However, no serious offers have been made by the University of Brighton, says the union.

Workers represented by UNISON were joined on picket lines and at a demonstration by academic staff represented by UCU, who have been on strike from 1 – 3 December in a separate dispute.