June 2019 - Equalities Issues

Brighton UCU are working in the following areas to help support equalities issues at the University of Brighton. If members have any feedback related to the areas outlined below, please get in touch with a branch equalities officer: http://ucu.brighton.ac.uk/contact-us/

Your feedback and continuing dialogue will help us to identify, pursue and prioritise equalities issues in the workplace.

University Carer's Policy

The current carer's policy, 'Supporting Staff who have caring responsibilities' is due to be reviewed on 1 October 2019 and there are key points which may be of interest to members.

  • Currently the leave offered to carer's is the mandatory minimum of 5 days and this could be revised upwards to support keeping carers in work. The current leave arrangements are also unpaid. Carers UK released a recent report recommending 5-10 days of paid leave in order to support carers and offset the longterm financial impact of being a carer: 'Caring for your future...' (p.13).
  • A provision could be put in place to formally recognise the need for carers to be able to take time off to attend medical appointments with a dependant.
  • The current policy was ratified in 2018 and it is unclear how aware line managers are of the policy and the need to put in place a Carers Support Plan if a caring responsibility is disclosed. Some reporting on the implementation of the existing policy would seem pertinent at this time.

Sexual Harassment

UCU's No sexual harassment week took place between 10-15 June. Brighton UCU branch notes that the current Harassment and Bullying Policy, includes sexual harassment but does not provide clear information about how complaints of sexual harassment will be handled as distinct for other types of harassment and bullying. This is important due to the potential impact of sexual harassment on an individual's career, the likelihood of under-reporting and the balance of power in the workplace. In this era of non-disclosure agreements at other institutions, the university could take a clear stand against these issues by having a separate sexual harassment policy and enhanced reporting procedures for individuals who have encountered harassment.

Maternity Leave

UCU Brighton branch are currently looking into the university's maternity leave arrangements and how they compare to similar institutions. We seek feedback and support from any members who have recently taken this type of leave. We would also be grateful if any members who have recently taken maternity leave can come forward to help lead on this issue.

Domestic Violence and Emotional Abuse

Another, area where the university could make a clear step forward is in supporting staff and students who are experiencing domestic violence. In times of economic strife and uncertainty, such is the situation surrounding Brexit, staff and students may feel trapped in unsafe living conditions. By having a robust policy on this issue the university would be recognising the huge impact that domestic violence and emotional abuse can have on physical and mental health and also as a by-product on workplace performance. This would include providing clear disclosure procedures for those experiencing domestic violence and in the case where an employee is found to be a perpetrator of abuse, that disciplinary action may be taken. For further reference, the Equality and Human Rights Commission's guidance.

June 2019

A new General Secretary and a new dynamism at UCU Congress

The text of all the motions and their outcomes can be found at https://www.ucu.org.uk/Congress2019

UCU’s annual Congress took place last weekend with the news that Jo Grady has been elected as the union’s new General Secretary.

This is good news for all those who want to extend democracy and strengthen the control of ordinary members over the direction of the union. Participation in the election was up by 50% on the last General Secretary election, the result primarily of the increased involvement of members in pre-92 universities since the USS dispute last year. Jo Grady is herself from that constituency and spoke directly for the members who electrified the union by taking four weeks of almost continuous strike action in defence of pensions and against the marketisation of higher eduction.

In her address to Congress, Jo Grady spoke about the need for union structures to reflect the needs and views of UCU’s diverse membership and signalled her support for an active, fighting union. She also repeated her promise to accept changes to her contract if the union adopts a recall mechanism for the General Secretary.

That Jo Grady’s election represents a significant shift in the UCU is reinforced by the defeat of Matt Waddup, the candidate of the appointed professional employees of the union. This group, along with the previous General Secretary, preferred to shut down both the USS dispute and Congress last year rather than submit to the will of members. Jo Grady’s election therefore represents the revenge of the rank and file following those events.

The final part of that revenge was the decision by pre-92 Congress delegates to relaunch the USS dispute. USS directors have rejected the findings of the joint expert panel set up after last year’s strikes which endorsed the UCU’s assessment that there was no deficit in the fund and no need for major changes to it. They are continuing with their plans to drastically increase contributions while slashing payouts. Pre-92 branches took the decision to ballot for renewed strike action in the autumn, something that would not have been necessary if the campaign had not been prematurely called off by the previous General Secretary.

Photo by Grant Buttars, 2019. Used with permission.
Source: https://www.rs21.org.uk/2019/06/04/big-changes-at-ucu-congress-2019/.


HE pay

Congress delegates also voted to reject university employers’ ‘final’ offer of 1.8% on pay for 2019-20 and to initiate the preparations for a campaign of industrial action in the autumn. The crucial motion was from Brighton UCU which argued that despite most branches failing to meet the government-imposed turnout threshold last year, we have no choice but to try again this year. Failure to do so would signal to the employers that they can continue to impose real term pay cuts, ignore the gender pay gap and maintain high levels of casualisation with impunity. Last year’s ballots showed huge majorities in favour of action over pay, and UCU branches are increasingly following the example of Brighton UCU in finding ways to beat the 50% threshold in local ballots.

Organising a disaggregated ballot will mean that post-92 branches that exceed the turnout can take industrial action alongside pre-92 branches fighting over the pensions, and creates the prospect of a joint battle over pay and pensions this autumn.

There was a palpable sense of optimism that the union has turned a corner in its ability to win disputes. Winchester University is one of a number of HE branches which has fought off compulsory redundancies by winning a ballot and threatening strike action, while rolling strikes in FE colleges are wining real-terms pay rises for the first time in a generation.

FE branches are also showing the way on casualisation, several of them having won agreements, as a result of strike action, to shift temporary staff onto permanent contracts. Numerous motions committed the union to redoubling its efforts to end the scourge of casualisation in HE too.

The threat to our pensions

For the same reason that the employers want to trash USS pensions in the pre-92 universities, the Teachers’ Pension Scheme is under attack in the post-92 institutions. A single public sector pension scheme with defined benefits undermines the competition between institutions that the government is fostering. Marketisation encourages de-mutualisation.

Congress noted the tendency for post-92 university managements to try to push staff off TPS, a tendency which has been accelerated by the recent sharp increase in employers’ contributions. Congress sounded the warning that, like our pre-92 colleagues, we are likely to have to fight to defend our pension scheme.

Union democracy

Debates on issues of internal democracy continue to reveal the battle lines within the union. A rule-change motion from Southampton UCU provoked a protest in the hall from delegates outraged at its attempt to marginalise the voices of FE members and entrench the voting weight of pre-92 universities at Congress, and was comprehensively defeated. Unfortunately, a proposal to put control of national disputes in the hands of strike committees composed of branch delegates narrowly failed to win the required two-thirds majority.

Political issues

The UCU has an excellent record of taking a political stand on a range of issues and urging its members to become involved. This year, three issues dominated: climate change, anti-racism, and the visit of Donald Trump.

There were many motions in solidarity with the recent school student strikes and protests by Extinction Rebellion demanding action to tackle the climate emergency. This is now such a pressing issue that trade unions must take it up vigorously. UCU is pushing for all colleges and universities to declare a climate emergency and to commit to being zero carbon by 2030. The call by Greta Thunberg for a general strike against climate change in September was welcomed and UCU members were urged to find ways to support it.

Congress endorsed the work the union has been doing with Stand Up to Racism in challenging the growth of the far right. News of Tommy Robinson’s humiliation in the European elections came through during Congress but the threat from the racist right remains.

Motions from Brighton

Several motions from Brighton University branches were on the agenda of Congress. A motion from Grand Parade was crucial in committing the union to a fight over pay this year. Falmer’s motion on strategies for overcoming the anti-union laws passed overwhelmingly.

Another motion from Falmer calling for an audit on the union’s progress in addressing sexual harassment in universities also passed without opposition, as did an amendment calling for more help for branches to arm themselves for pay and jobs campaigns by analysing the financial accounts of colleges and universities.

Two Brighton motions were not debated due to a lack of time. One was on the Augar Review, which reported yesterday and is recommending a cut in the student fee without any guarantee to university funding; and one on defending Jeremy Corbyn from charges of antisemitism based on the false position that supporting the Palestinian cause and opposing Israel is itself antisemitic.


May 2019

The Coordinating Committee here at Brighton has taken a decision to support one of the candidates - Jo McNeill - and is recommending that members vote for her.

The ballot for the UCU general secretary election opened on Monday 29 April and closes at 12 noon on Thursday 23 May. If you would like to help support the election please consider putting up our Get the vote out poster and/or Jo McNeill posters in your office and shared staff areas.

For information about Jo McNeill's candidacy, please visit the campaign site: https://jomcneill4gensec.com/jos-blog

See also McNeill's campaign video: https://youtu.be/vdX3Mepcsw0


Please ensure that you post your ballot by Monday 20th of May.

Ballot papers

You should by now have received your ballot paper for the election for General Secretary of the UCU. If you have not yet received it to your preferred address (home or work), please let a union rep know.

It’s important for democracy in the union that you use your vote.


An election hustings featuring the three candidates has been organised for next Monday evening at East Sussex College in Lewes.

General Secretary Hustings for UCU 2019
Question the candidates for General Secretary before you post your ballot.
Monday, 13 May 2019, 5.30-7.00pm - Lewes Campus (Map and Directions)

Our rationale for supporting Jo McNeill

Jo ran in the last General Secretary election, coming close to unseating the incumbent, Sally Hunt. She is the long-standing UCU branch president (chair) at Liverpool University and has been on the NEC for some time. Most importantly, she has a record of leading her branch in successful fights against redundancies, the imposition of new contracts and other attacks on staff working conditions attempted by management at Liverpool University. A member of UCU Left, she believes in a member-led union which regards the membership’s ability to mobilise and fight as its main asset. As her election posts make clear, she also understands that the fight to defend staff pay and conditions is inseparable from defending post-16 education - pre-92s, post-92s and FE - from the ravages of marketisation and competition. Jo’s flyer is attached.

Jo’s main competitor in the election is one of the senior full-time officials working at UCU head office, Matt Waddup. As a paid official of the union, Matt shares responsibility for the persistent problem in recent years of the union failing to implement strategy decisions made by branch delegates at annual congress. These failures have been particularly evident in successive HE pay campaigns. Like many union officials, Matt believes in a professional-style trade unionism pursued from head office which downplays the role of members fighting in their own interests. Matt was one of the key organisers of the staff walk-outs at last year’s congress designed to thwart the democratic right of delegates to hold the General Secretary to account over her conduct at a crucial moment in the USS pensions dispute.

The third candidate is Jo Grady, from Sheffield University UCU. Like Jo McNeill, Jo Grady is a rank and file candidate but, unlike Jo McNeill, has never held a senior officer’s position in a branch and does not have a track record of leading struggles. In CoCom’s judgment, she lacks the experience to be able to act independently of the full-time officials at head office.

The Coordinating Committee therefore recommends that you vote for Jo McNeill. But whether or not you accept our recommendation, please take the trouble to vote. Our new General Secretary needs a strong democratic mandate from the membership if our union is to be fit to face the challenges of the next few years.

April 2019

27th April   Stand Up To Racism (SUtR), to which UCU is affiilated, has called a Day of Action Against UKIP for next Saturday, 27th April.

UKIP is standing candidates in 14 seats in the Brighton & Hove City Council local elections. It has now begun street leafletting for the elections, most recently in George Street Hove.  SUtR will be leafleting in George Street Hove (near Cafe Nero) from 13.00-15.00 next Saturday 27th April from 13.00-15.00. We will be giving out the attached leaflet, talking to people, and asking them to Stand Up To Racism, and to talk to their neighbours about not voting for UKIP,Please JOIN US for an hour or two on Saturday.

March 2019

26th March Following the considerable opposition to the termination of Yaa Asare's contract - we are happy to report that our fellow member has been assured of a permanent contract.  Please get in touch with the branch chair if you wish to know more about how we can reproduce the actions which were successful in this case to support casualised and BAME staff in your branch.  Spread the word, our union is our strength.

12th March The following motion was passed unanimously at the Falmer Branch meeting:

This branch notes

  • the small number of black academic staff at the University of Brighton;
  • that according the University’s own statistics, black staff less likely than white staff to be on permanent contracts and are more than twice as likely to leave because their contracts come to an end;
  • the attempt by the University to end the employment of Yaa Asare on the grounds that she is on a fixed term contract, despite the fact that she has over four years continuous service and has worked in SASS and Education since 2005;
  • that this is despite Sociology’s CDR document explicitly recommending that Yaa be made permanent in order to maintain the ‘essential sociological field of race and ethnicity’.

This branch believes 

  • that Yaa’s situation is an instance of institutional racism whereby black staff find themselves disproportionately targeted by cost savings because they tend to be in more precarious employment;
  • retaining black staff is crucial for efforts to decolonise the curriculum and for making the University a comfortable place to study for black students;
  • that dismissing Yaa would signal that the University lacks commitment in tackling the BME attainment gap and achieving the Race Equality Charter Mark.

This branch calls on the Vice Chancellor to reverse the decision to dismiss Yaa and instead issues her with a permanent contract.

February 2019

11th February  UCU elections Hustings

Elections for the highest lay office of the UCU are now open. You should shortly be receiving ballot papers for the election of the Vice President. Members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) are also being elected.

We are organising hustings next Monday featuring two of the candidates for Vice President. Jo McNeill will appear in person and Vicky Blake will participate via Skype.

The details of the hustings are Monday 11th Feb:

1-2pm, Falmer, venue Checkland A404

5.30-6.30pm, Grand Parade 204

Please try to attend a hustings, but even if you don't, make sure to use your vote. A strong, healthy union depends on the democratic involvement of its members.

6th February All members mailing containing information on:

1.     UCU elections - hustings next Monday for Vice President candidates

2.     Consultancy Policy - the University is trying to impose unilateral changes

3.     Shrinking the University - is management planning redundancies?

4.     Workload implementation - latest news and advice

5.     Staff Development Review  - relaunch of the scheme

6.     Alternative forms of assessment - latest information

January 2019

18th January The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched an inquiry to understand the types of racial harassment experienced at publicly funded higher education institutions (HEIs), such as universities or higher education colleges. They want to hear from staff and students who have experienced, witnessed or helped in an incident of racial harassment from September 2015 onwards and you can click here to respond. 

16th January Branch Meetings at Grand Parade and Falmer take opportunity to show support for fight for pay and equality



15th January Brighton UCU coordinating committee agree motion to support 16th March Anti-Racism demo and 23rd Feb Stand Up to Racism Trade Union Conference 

9th January Read New Year Message from the Coordinating Committee here

7th January Wishing all members a Happy New Year!

November 2018

22nd November - UCU update on the Workload Agreement implementation 

12th November report on the UCU Special Higher Education Sector Conference held in Manchester on 7th November on the pay and equality campaign can be found here

5th November UCU congress Report from your Brighton delegates can be found here

September 2018

26th September Voting in Democracy Commission Elections. The coordinating committee has agreed to endorse the UCULeft  recommendiations (see here) which aim to  ensure that left candidates committed to greater union democracy are elected.  

17th September OUT NOW Brighton UCU Newsletter.  Read it here and be informed when you attend your branch meetings this week.

10th September. There will be branch meetings on all sites next week  to discuss pay ballot, fixed-term contracts for permanent work, pay deductions for strike action and more.  Please look out for details and do what you can to attend.

5th September. By now, you should have received your ballot paper for the UCU’s pay and equality campaign in the post. Please return it as soon as possible. If you have not received it, please let us know or you can request a duplicate ballot paper here

3rd September Welcome back and Pay and Equality ballot.  Many colleagues will be returning to work this work this week and we hope you have had a restful break.  

You should have received the email below from the UCU General Secretary announcing the start of the ballot over pay and equality. You will also have received a message from our management to say that the University of Brighton is imposing UCEA’s 2% pay offer representing yet another real terms pay cut even though it has not been agreed with the unions. Far from beginning to correct the decline we have experienced in the value of our wages over the last nine years, it exacerbates it. You can read the union's full claim here and click here for further information and the latest in the campaign.

Our dispute is about the overall value of our pay which has slumped as a proportion of universities’ income in recent years amid an upsurge of spending on new buildings. It is also about forcing our employers to address the gender pay gap and to reverse the growth of casualised contracts for lecturers.

A sector-wide fight over pay is also a fight to defend higher education from the corrosive effects of marketisation. The fee system and the removal of the cap on student numbers have widened the divisions between richer and poorer universities. This intensification of competition between universities is designed to force the collapse of national pay bargaining with the intention of driving down pay levels still further. If that happened, HE pay would be determined by local deals limited by the size of the bank balance of each institution. The pay of some in Russell Group universities would increase, while the poorer institutions - mostly pre-92s like Brighton - would claim that they could never afford a decent pay rise for their staff. 

We will hear pleas of poverty from our own senior management over the next few months. We need to remember that the sector as a whole is richer that it has ever been. It is not our fault if these resources have become unevenly distributed as a result of the government's policy of encouraging competition rather than cooperation.

Just like our colleagues in pre-92s who fought earlier this year to defend their pensions, we are also fighting to defend a unified higher education sector.

Vote Yes to action and post your ballot paper straight back.

August 2018

9th August Solidarity with Bookmarks.    
The Coordinating Committee of the UCU at the University of Brighton offers its support to Bookmarks and its staff in the wake of the attack on its premises.
An attack on a trade union and socialist bookshop during its opening hours is a sign of the increasing confidence of a growing racist far right which has been emboldened by the election of Donald Trump and the Tories’ ‘hostile environment’ towards immigrants.
They will be encouraged also by Boris Johnson’s positioning of himself as an Islamophobe with his recent statement ridiculing the burka and the niqab
We condemn the attack on Bookmarks in the strongest terms and urge the trade union movement and anti-racists to unite to in an urgent effort to halt the growth of organised racism and push back against this threat to our movement.
UCU Coordinating Committee, University of Brighton
For more details of the attack and a solidarity event on the 11th August see here

6th August Make sure you can vote in upcoming pay and equality ballot.  Check your UCU membership record in advance of the industrial action ballot over pay which is due to open in August. Ensure that the address to which your ballot paper will be sent is the most convenient and reliable one, bearing in mind the time of year and the decline in the University’s systems for delivering physical mail to staff.



June 2018

25th June UCU NEC has accepted that the Recall Congress of UCU will now go ahead and debate motions 10 and 11.  See report here 

22nd June Brief report of SHESC here

9th June UCU democracy crisis

Following the shutdown of the union’s national Congress by the leadership, over 100 UCU members attended a ‘Where next for the UCU’ meeting called by London Region on the 9th June. Dozens of branches were represented including some from as far afield as Leeds and Liverpool.  

There was unanimity that the assault on democracy by the leadership needed to be resisted and that members’ right to hold their elected leadership to account is essential to trade unionism. Participants debated the extent to which a change of General Secretary should be an urgent priority or whether it might be possible to come to a compromise with Unite over staff rights.  

Others argued that the critical motions were no threat to the employment rights of staff in general and that the trade union argument had been confected purely to prevent criticism of the General Secretary. There can be no accommodation with those who want to stifle democracy in the union. But while the days of Sally Hunt are probably numbered, the focus has to be on carrying forward the energy and rank and file involvement which characterised the USS dispute into the important fights the union faces. Top of that list is a campaign of industrial action this autumn to reverse the chronic decline in our pay.

5th June Making sense of what happened at UCU Congress 2018

Many members will be unclear about what happened at UCU congress and will want to understand why there has been such an outcry.  The issue will be discussed at Branch meetings at which we will have the opportunity to vote for motions and add our voice to the debate of what should happen next.  Make every effort to attend - this about the democracy of our union.  A good overview of UCU's national democratic structures and the case for reform can be found here.

1st June UCU Congress Report Update

The leadership of the UCU - General Secretary, President and senior officers - forcibly shut down the union's Congress before lunch on its final day (Friday). The pretext for this was that Congress could not continue following the staging of a third walkout by employees of the union - officials and office staff. 

 Despite a majority of delegates voting four times to hear them, the General Secretary and her allies were determined not to allow discussion of two motions critical of her. One is a no confidence motion with a call for her resignation, the other a censure motion. Both were submitted by pre-92 university branches critical of the way the General Secretary called off the USS strikes.

Union staff, who are members of the Unite union, claimed that their employment rights are threatened by Congress motions which criticise them. Since Sally Hunt is a recent recruit to Unite, they called a dispute with their employer, the UCU, in her defence and took wildcat strike action.

The majority of delegates were appalled at this blatant attempt to subvert union democracy and thwart the basic democratic right of members to hold their elected representatives to account. Immediately before the shutdown, Congress had passed a motion reaffirming the right of members to debate and vote on motions critical of their elected representatives. They had also committed the union to a recall Congress to deal with lost business at the earliest opportunity.

Sally Hunt will no doubt try to blame these calamitous events on a small minority of politically motivated oppositionists. But the leadership took the nuclear option of shutting down Congress only because they consistently failed to win support for their position among delegates. Their final attempt to secure withdrawal of the motions was lost by a considerable majority.

 The majority of delegates who remained in the conference hall drew up and agreed the statement which you can see here.  They vowed not to let the behaviour of the leadership disrupt efforts to fight on the issues which affect the union's members or impede a serious campaign over pay in both FE and HE this autumn. 

There will be a report back from delegates at each of the forthcoming AGMs offering the opportunity for members to discuss this crisis in the union.

Cyprian Njue - Brighton delegate
Tom Hickey - Brighton delegate
Mark Abel - National Executive Committee member


May 2018

31st May UCU Congress report

Colleagues, Please find here my second report from UCU Congress. It will be circulated to delegates on Friday as the UCU Left response to the statement issued by the dominant faction of the National Executive Committee.
Tom Hickey, University of Brighton delegate to UCU Congress 2018

30th May UCU Congress shut down - the war of Sally's face

Remarkable scenes are unfolding at UCU Congress. Both morning and afternoon sessions have been brought to a halt by the walkout of UCU employees. 

The issue at stake is the right of UCU Congress delegates to represent members ' criticisms of the conduct of the General Secretary in the recent USS dispute. The Unite union claims that these criticisms on the floor of Congress would infringe the employments rights of the General Secretary.

A motion from the majority faction on the NEC to withdraw the motions of criticism fell by 144 votes to 123. The motions address the role of the General Secretary in getting industrial action suspended in the USS dispute. One was a motion of no confidence calling for the General Secretary's resignation; the other was a motion of censure. Those who voted against withdrawal included many delegates who had reservations about one or both of the motions, but insisted on their right to debate them and vote on them. 

In effect, depriving Congress of the right to censure the General Secretary, or the elected leadership as a whole, would render them immune from criticism by the sovereign body of the union. This and future General Secretaries would then be at liberty to act in defiance of democratic decisions taken by members' delegates at Congress. 

 It would also silence the voices of all those UCU members in branches who expressed their disapproval of the handling of the biggest dispute in the union's history.

Cyprian Njue

Tom Hickey

 Brighton UCU delegates

8th May Motions passed at branch meetings at Falmer and Moulsecoomb           

Moulsecoomb:  This branch notes the threat to jobs caused by the loss of another year’s cohort at the Hastings campus.
This branch believes that it is perfectly feasible to avoid the threat to academic jobs by positive steps being taken to absorb - under similar contractual conditions as previously applied – academic staff based at Hastings and agreeing with them alternative teaching and responsibilities on other sites. This branch calls on the UEB to guarantee that there will be no redundancies of academic staff as a result of the winding down of Hastings campus.

This branch notes the threat to jobs caused by the loss of another year’s cohort at the Hastings campus.
This branch believes that it is perfectly possible for schools to avoid the threat to lecturers’ jobs by absorbing the relatively few academic staff based at Hastings and agreeing with them alternative teaching and responsibilities on other sites.  They should not have to apply for alternative posts and equality means all staff being offered alternative teaching and responsibilities on other sites.  
This branch calls on the UEB to guarantee that there will be no redundancies of academic staff as a result of the winding down of Hastings campus.


April 2018

20th April Dispute over breach of promotions procedure. See full statement here and look out for forthcoming branch meetings

March 2018

15th March Brighton members support staff and students at demonstration at Sussex today Following overwhelming rejection of 'deal' the strike continued this week with a demonstratio by staff and students today which closed the university. Brighton members were there in solidarity.




8th March Solidarity with USS strike. Branches at Brighton pass a motion of solidarity with Sussex strikers: This branch resolves to 'twin' with University of Sussex UCU for the duration of the USS dispute with the aim of delivering as much moreal and practical solidarity to our striking colleagues as possible.

Feb 2018

22nd Feb Solidarity with USS strike. Great to be with our banner to show solidarity with our colleagues at Sussex striking in defence of the USS pension.  Great to see the student support too.


1st Feb - UCU ELECTIONS 2018.  You should have received (or will soon be receiving) your ballot paper for these elections.  The Coordinating Committee at Brighton is urging all members to vote for our own Chair, Mark Abel, in this election for the NEC and making recommendations for votes for other positions. For the full Co-com statement see here. Whoever it is you choose to vote for, please vote and return your ballot paper before the deadline of the 1st March.

Jan 2018

31st January Why our colleagues in Pre-92 institutions are right to be striking - see letter to the Guardian hereThe support we can give to colleagues in the pre-92 universities is important not just in solidarity with their struggle to defend their USS pensions (and solidarity with those colleagues at Brighton who are in the USS scheme) but also because their struggle is a foretaste of what we will have to face in defending the terms of the TPS scheme in the future.

Dec 2017

23rd December Season's Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year.  2017 was a tough year but over two disputes we successfully defended our negotiating rights, AC3 to AC4 promotions, HPL colleagues demoted to demonstrator grade, and the principle of no compulsory redundancies and we are well placed to resist further attacks on our terms and conditions and the quality of education at Brighton. The solidatrity of colleagues and students was vital to our success and you can read our longer messages of thanks to STUDENTS here, to UNISON here and to UCU colleagues here.

2nd December.  THANK YOU!  On behalf of the UCU Coordinating Committee and UCU colleagues at Brighton, we would like to thank you for the support you have shown for our recent dispute, and for all of the supportive messages that you have sent to us. The importance of this solidarity cannot be over-estimated. It is not easy to take and to maintain industrial action, especially in the face of offensive counter-propaganda. 

1st December Dispute Resolved. Solidarity shown by UCU members in their determination to take strike action in defence of their colleagues has ensured a successful outcome to this dispute - read the Brighton Coordinating committee statement here.

Nov 2017

30th November - More messages of solidarity. Chesterfield College, Sussex University (Sara Crangle), Winchester University, Leicester University, Prof Meg Maguire (King's College London), Laura Miles (UCU Trustee and NEC member0 Blackburn College joint union safety reps committee, New City College (Tower Hamlets).

29th November - Response to VC's message here

27th November - More fantastic messages of support from our students - see here

27th November - Message of Support from Sally Hunt General Secretary of UCU 
To all members at Brighton.
We are only as strong as those of us who stand with each other. The employer is only as strong as we allow them them to be. 
Brighton has a management who appear to have taken a testosterone pill to grow muscles to strut like a peacock amongst their peer group. It doesn't impress. You need more than aggression to your staff to win an academic reputation .
You need more than a reputation as a bully to raise yourself through the rankings .
They have it so wrong. This is a strong branch , one that understands solidarity. You are part of a union which doesn't walk away from its members . We all stand with you. They have picked the wrong fight . Solidarity .

24th November - Fantastic support for the first full day of strike There were pickets on all main sites from early morning (see some photos here) and these were well supported by students throughout the day with students joining the pickets and/or bringing refreshments to those on the picket lines. We were particularly impressed by the great leaflet produced by students and which they distributed at the Grand Parade picket (see here) . Much appreciated too, were the very many messages of support on social media and in person from Brighton and Hove Trades Council, National Education Union Brighton,  Leeds University UCU, Nottingham Trent UCU, UCU Hertfordshire University, Jo McNeill President Liverpool UCU, Lucy Robinson University of Sussex, Rachel Thompson University of Sussex, UCU Left, UCU Sheffiled Hallam University, Newcastle University UCU, South City College Birmingham UCU, Bournville College UCU, Greenwich and Bexley TUC.

23rd November - Great support for the walkout - fantastic to have support of students (many are writing letters of support, see for example here), colleagues from the NEU, Sussex University and UNISON. Pickets on all sites tomorrow.





22nd November Unison Statement on the UCU strike here

16th November Message for students here 

15th November Industrial Action to stop compulsory redundancies. The strike will begin with a mass walkout on Thursday at 1pm from a predetermined gathering point on each campus. If you are teaching at 1pm we ask that you stop your class and join the walkout. There will be placards and news media will be invited. Friday is a whole day strike and we will be organising picket lines. Please attend branch meetings next week.


Members have voted overwhelmingly in support of industrial action against compulsory redundancies.
85% in favour of strike action, and 92% in favour of action short of strike. The turnout exceeded the 50% threshold now required by law. Many thanks to everyone who participated in the ballot and contributed to this excellent result.
Two members of staff, both UCU members, remain under threat of compulsory redundancy and we have informed management that the position of the UCU is thatt there is no genuine redundancy situation because there is still work for these staff to do and that more job losses are unwarranted given the departure of 90 staff under the severance scheme just a few weeks ago.
We have reiterated our position that unless the University removes the threats of compulsory redundancy, the union will pursue a campaign of industrial action.

The UCU Coordinating Committee has requested authorisation from the union’s national leadership for both strike action and action short of strikes in the coming weeks. Once authorisation is granted, the law requires notice to be given to the employers of at least two weeks before the action takes place.

 We hope that our strong ballot result and the concrete threat of action will induce the University to rescind the redundancies during the coming weeks. But members will need to be ready to take action if management insist on sacking our colleagues.

We will keep members informed of developments as they occur.


Oct 2017

23rd October POSTAL BALLOT OPEN   It is open for two weeks. The ballot must be returned by post so please check and see if your ballot has arrived, complete it and post it in good time. If your ballot hasn't reached you by 25th October, please let your branch officers know and/or contact UCU Head Office 02077562500 

9th October RESULT OF CONSULTATIVE BALLOT Members stand fast in solidarity against compulsory redundancies - 84%prepared to take strike action and 90.5% prepared to take action short of strike on 56% turnout.  Management must reconsider its ill advised and unecessary insistance on making compulsory redundancies. 

5th October  Only 4.8% of staff think the University is being well managed See the Times Higher Education article here and the original research website here

Sept 2017

 28th Sept - VOTE YES IN THE CONSULTATIVE BALLOT before the 9th October As a member of the UCU, you are being asked to take part in an indicative e-ballot on your willingness to take industrial action against the university's plan to make compulsory redundancies. Before any industrial action there will be an official postal ballot as required by law.  It is important that you take part in both the indicative e-ballot and the postal ballot. Not only must we have majorities for action, there must also be a high turnout. 

Watch a short UCU video on the redundancy situation here

27th Sept - Last academic year, UCU members successfully fought for an independent review of the role of HPLs demoted to demonstrator with guarantee of back pay if found to have been wrongly demoted.  We are pleased to report that the independent review found that the HPLs were not doing the work of demonstrators, had been wrongly demoted and the staff concerned will now get back pay. See the joint management/UCU statement here

15th Sept - We invited members last June to sign a petition against trade union victimisation, in support of Louise Purbrick.  We are pleased to be able to report that the University has now formally dropped the idea of disciplinary proceedings against Louise. See Louise's statement here

13th Sept - University announces axing of Big Lemon bus service for students and staff.  See Brighton Student Union statement here and petition here

11th Sept - NO COMPULSORY REDUNDANCIES at Brighton.   The University last week announced that it intends to make five academic staff compulsorily redundant. The five include lecturers in Modern Foreign Languages, which the University intends to scrap, and researchers in the Schools of PABS and Education. The UCU's argument for industrial action to stop these redundancies is here and will be discussed in forthcoming branch meetings.

July 2017

28th July Abolition of UniInfo - UCU members are urged to read and sign the open letter 

June 2017

13th June No Trade Union Victimisation at Brighton - please sign the petition

7th June AGMs and new branch executives elected. We will be updating branch contact lists as AGMs take place

6th June How to check your workload allocation: UCU Guidance here Branches will be organising staff workshops to explain the workload allocation model and how to check their workload allocations for 2017/18. Check with your Branch chair or secretary for details.

5th June UCU Congress Report - here

1st June Voluntary Severance Scheme - read the joint UCU-UNISON statement here

May 2017

22nd May Workload Agreement The final agreed version of the Workload agreement is here.  We will be producing guidance and branches will organise meetings to help members check their workload allocation. 

10th May What does it take to win?  Read our statement on the successful resolution of our dispute.


5th May Members vote to accept agreement to resolve dispute. The consultative ballot on the proposed agreement to end the union's dispute with the University produced an overwhelming vote for acceptance (report attached). Consequently, that agreement has now been signed by representatives of both sides, marking the end of the dispute.All industrial action has been called off, including the three-day strike planned for next week.

Once the dust has settled, CoCom will produce an assessment of the dispute for the purpose of drawing lessons for the future from how it was conducted and what has been achieved.In the meantime, there can be no doubt that the dispute resulted in an unequivocal victory for the UCU. The union succeeded in forcing the University into reversals and retreats on all three of the substantive issues of promotions, demotions and redundancies which sparked the dispute. Most importantly, the University failed completely to achieve its overriding objective of limiting the union's right to negotiate the terms and conditions of academic staff - de factoderecognition - which it pursued initially by breaching agreements and refusing to abide by the disputes procedure, then during the negotiations by attempting to get the union to sign away its rights in some areas.

The Coordinating Committee thanks members for their resolute support during the course of this dispute. This success would not have been possible without the overwhelming vote for strikes in the industrial action ballot and the manifest preparedness of members, demonstrated repeatedly at meetings, lobbies and the half-day strike on 31st March, to respond in large numbers to the union's calls for action.We have always understood that our dispute was about defending not only the terms and conditions of academic staff, and the UCU's right to negotiate them, but also the quality of the education that our students have a right to expect. Given the current climate in higher education, there will undoubtedly be future battles on both fronts, but as a result of this outcome we are well placed to face them with confidence. Mark Abel for the UCU coordinating committee.

April 2017

26th and 27th April Strike suspended.   The UCU Coordinating Committee has decided on the basis of progress made in negotiations with the University over the current dispute to suspend the strike scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday, and the work-to-contract. We aim to circulate in the next few days a proposed deal designed to settle the dispute, and to seek membership approval for its ratification.  Until that process is complete, a three-day strike planned for 8th, 9th, 10th May, which has been notified to management, remains scheduled.ntil that process is complete, a three-day strike planned for 8th, 9th, 10th May, which has been notified to management, remains scheduled.


24th and 25th April - Branch meetings on all sites, please attend for update and to have your say on the dispute. 

21st April London Region UCU solidarity


3rd April Work to contract guidance available here 

March 2017

31st March Start of 'work to contract' and strike and walk out at 1pm, read the report

17th March Mass Lobby of University Management Board 8-9am Mithras House and article in the Argus 


14th March Student Union issue statement on the UCU industrial action

13th/14th March Branch meeting on all sites to discuss programme of industrial action

9th March BALLOT RESULT An excellent turnout and massive majorities in favour of taking industrial action to defend our terms and conditions and quality of education at the University of Brighton. This clear statement by the membership should make the management reconsider its position that "it does not require the agreement of the UCU in respect of these matters." and the UCU coordinating committee remains ready to participate in any meaningful negotiations in good faith.

February 2017  

23rd Feb DEBRA HUMPHRIS NAMED AS 'FAT CAT' VC see here While claiming that staff costs are too high the UCU report that the VC has seen her pay increase by 31% #weshouldbesolucky

20th Feb BALLOT FOR INDUSTRIAL ACTION The ballot for which branches voted will open on the 22nd Feb. We need to come together to defend our union and what it has achieved for us - see here.  For background to the dispute see the UCU video here. Action committees are being set up in all branches to help get the vote out - to find out how you can help, contact your branch officers.

16th Feb UNIVERSITY REFUSES RECONCILIATION UCU negotiators met senior management at a regular Lecturers' Common Interest Group (LCIG) negotiating meeting last wednesday in an attempt to make progress to resolve the issues at the heart of the dispute with the University. See report.

13th Feb Misinformation or Inconvenient Truths? Response to the Vice Chancellor’s attack on the UCU’s reading of the finances of the University as misinformation. The figures themselves come from the Report and Financial Statement 2015-16  

9th Feb University of Brighton Open Meeting:The Future of UCU – More of the Same or Time for Change?SPECIAL Election MEETING with Jo McNeill, candidate for General Secretary of UCU. 5-6.30pm Grand Parade Boardroom

3rd Feb VOTE TO MOVE TO BALLOT FOR INDUSTRIAL ACTION  All four branches of the UCU at Brighton have now held meetings about the current dispute between the UCU and the University.  These meetings have been some of largest there have ever been at the University and the proposal to move to a ballot received overwhelming support with not a single vote against.  This is a clear demonstration of the strength of feeling that our agreements should be defended and our negotiating rights with the University asserted. 

January 2017

21st January Sussex Defend the NHS demonstration Brighton UCU proud to be among many union banners on the well supported march and rally.


20th January update on the dispute hereIt is important that every member is aware of the situation, since it is likely that union action will be required if we are to resolve the situation satisfactorily. Branch meetings are being organised for the week of 30th January (look out for emails of check right hand of this webpage). It is important that we get big attendances at them. Your terms and conditions depend on it. The future of our union is at stake.

16th January  A UNIVERSITY THAT RESPECTS ITS STAFF AND STUDENTS? The management at the University of Brighton has decided to attack its own workforce, and to reduce the quality of the education it offers to students in the process. All staff and students need to be aware of these developments, and how they will affect our futures, the standing of the University, and the quality of degrees that are being secured by students. read out leaflet.  A putative 'financial crisis' is used as justification but read the facts and print and display the door poster 

12th January Stop downgrading hourly paid lecturers - sign the petition:

December 2016

19th December FORMAL DISPUTE -Management escalates
A special Joint Negotiating Committee was held to discuss the issues cited by the UCU in its declaration of a formal dispute with the University These are:

  • The scrapping of promotions to Ac4 (Principal Lecturer) in the forthcoming promotions round
  • The downgrading of lecturers to demonstrators in the College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences
  • The threatened redundancies at Grand Parade.

But despite having called the meeting within the time frame required by the disputes procedure, the VC refused to accept that the procedure had been correctly invoked or that the meeting was taking place under the auspices of the procedure. Her justification for doing so was that none of the issues the UCU had raised are matters for negotiation. Sustaining this bizarre position requires some tortuous mental gymnastics whose purpose is to claim that the University needs only to consult the UCU on most of the terms and conditions of academic staff, rather than negotiate and seek agreement with us on them.The full statement from the Coordinating committee is here

16th December Board of Governors .
UCU and Unison lobbied the governors as they went into the meeting (see letter here) but in spite of their arguments, the report on the consultation which was clear that students and the community do not want to see this abandonning of Hastings and is critical of the handling of the process (see full report here) and the Student Union president speaking and voting against (see here), the Board of Governors decided to withdraw from delivering Higher Education in Hastings


9th December FORMAL DISPUTE - promotions, contracts, redundancies - as a result of the scale of the breaches by the management of the University of agreements relating to these three the coordinating committee felt we had no choice but to serve notice to the VC of a failure to agree under the Disputes Procedure.  The procedure requires the convening of a special meeting of the Joint Negotiating Committee within ten working days. For more details see here.

9th December Is there a financial crisis at the UoB? The VC is keen to stress the financial challenges facing the university and her recent message to all staff played up the negative elements of the Financial Report 2015-16 but failed to mention a series of features which provide an interesting comparison with the previous year and present a different picture, see here.

November 2016

25th November No to Hastings Campus closure! Lobby the Board of Governors 8am Mithras House Protest at the Hastings consultation sham!

21st November the third reading of the HE Bill - Have you written to your MP to protest at the folly of this bill? How is your MP going to vote? https://www.ucu.org.uk/scra[-the-HE-bill

19th November UCU members from Brighton were among the 15,000 staff and students demonstrating in London united for education 




5th November UCUsupports RMT rally in Brighton5th_November.jpg


3rd November 6.30 for 7pm The Government's HE and Research Bill: WHY IT MUST BE RESISTED, AND HOW TO DEFEAT IT -  For report see here
Speakers: Gordon Marsden MP (Shadow Minister for Higher Education), Sorana Vieru (NUS Vice President for Higher Education), Tom Frost (UCU Secretary, University of Sussex),Tom Hickey (joint author of the Alternative White Paper for HE) 

October 2016

30th October  Deadline for the Hastings Consultation.  This is not a consultation on whether the Hastings campus should close. The ‘consultation’ offers only one option for providing Higher Education in Hastings, which is essentially the complete withdrawal of the University of Brighton from the town and the transferal of two access courses to the Sussex Coast College Hastings.  This is a UoB management recommendation on which there was no consultation and which is disputed and has been challenged by staff and students and their unions.  As the student's union have said 

"The University of Brighton has launched its consultation regarding the future of its provision in Hastings. Brighton Students’ Union believes this consultation is an entirely pointless exercise which only aims to create a smoke screen for the University’s true intentions of completely withdrawing its provision from Hastings." (read the full statement here) and read our response to the Hastings Consultation Sham here

We also believe that this consultation has been intentionally set for the summer so that staff as well as students have less of an opportunity participate.

Unison, the Student's Union and UCU will be responding to the consultation but  please add your voice to the consultation and make your feelings known.


15th October  Third Convention for the Defence of Higher Education, UCL, London, 10-5pm Register here:  https://heconvention2.wordpress.com

Speakers: Professor Alison Wolf (KCL), Professor Martin McQuillan (Kingston and CDBU), Malia Bouattia (NUS President), Professor John Holmwood (Nottingham and CPU), Gordon Marsden (LP Shadow Minister for HE), representatives of the SNP, and Green Party, andothers. Supported by the CPU, CDBU, UCU and NUS.  Flier at: https://heconvention2.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/third-convention-poster-a4t.pdf 

This is not a Convention to analyse, bemoan and urge opposition to the attacks on the quality and intellectual independence of HE teaching and scholarship. That has been done extensively already. This gathering is designed to organise Parliamentary, sectoral, institutional and community opposition to the Government's HE Bill, and to prepare for resistance to its consequences should the Bill be passed into law.

September 2016

29th September Solidarity with London Met UCU taking strike action today 


22nd/23rd Sept Most branches held branch meetings to discuss the national pay campaign with Grand parade and Falmer unanimously passing motions  the progress of negotiations on workload allocation, the review of SDRs, threat of redundancy and to express solidarity with London Met University UCU striking over cuts and job losses on the 29th September 


13th July Annual General Meetings have now been held by all branches - for new branch committees please see 'contact us'

5th July University of Brighton on strike in support of claim for #fairpayinhe. Full report and pictures under the Pay Campaign 2016 tab.

June 2016

24th June Falmer branch AGM and Branch meeting pass this motion:

Motion on Working-to-Contract, Saturday Working and Open Days

This branch notes;

  • that the university policy is to dock 1/260th of pay for every day of strike, thereby confirming that staff work a 5 day week and confirmation at LCIG  (15th Feb 2015) that no academic staff are forced to work Saturdays
  • that the action-short-of-strike which the union is taking in support of its claim for fair pay in HE currently takes the form of working to contract;
  • this means withdrawing the large amounts of good will and unpaid labour the University relies upon to run, that members should perform no additional voluntary duties and no work beyond the 37 hours a week for which they are contracted
  • and that for many members, participation in open days are an example of such additional voluntary duties and/or would take them beyond the 37 hours per week.

This branch believes;

  • we need to stand in solidarity with members in other institutions who have targeted open days via strike action and/or action short of strike.

This branch resolves to advise members

  • Not to participate in  Saturday open days where such participation would constitute an additional voluntary duties and/or would take them beyond the 37 hours per week
  • Instead to leaflet the event to publicize the UCU’s claim for fair pay in HE


May 2016

25th and 26th May National UCU Strike for fair pay in HE join the picket lines in the morning and the joint demonstration with Sussex UCU at 12.30 on wednesday at the Level to March to rally at Old Ship Hotel at 2pm 

14th May DEMONSTRATE against campus closure Assemble Priory Square 12 noon
See Hastings Campaigns page for reports of the demonstration 

6th May 7.45 am Stop the closure of Hastings Campus Lobby of the Board of Governors Mithras House Called by Unison, UCU and the Students' Union

 The campaign to stop the closure of Hastings Campus will lobby governors, pressing them to set aside the decision taken at the last Board meeting. The case for them to do so is: 

  • The decision was taken on the basis of inadequate knowledge. Governors were not supplied with any information for consideration prior to the meeting. The information they received at the meeting was very limited, containing no detailed financial data. Indeed, no balance sheet for the Hastings operation existed at the time of the meeting and was only drawn up later in response to a request by the trade unions. There was no consultation with any stakeholders - students, staff, unions, Hastings Borough Council, the Regeneration Task Force, the local MP - prior to the decision.
  • There were procedural irregularities in the taking of the decision. Despite a number of governors speaking against the proposal, no recognised mechanism for taking a vote was used.
  • The decision breached rules for the governance of the University. The closure of the Hastings Campus has not featured in any University Strategic Plan.  The Academic Board, whose remit is to oversee all academic aspects of the University's decision-making, was not allowed to discuss the closure or to express a view.
  • The Board abrogated its legal responsibility to supervise the Vice Chancellor's and the executive's management of the University and to protect its institutional interests by exercising due diligence. The motion passed was couched in vague terms, did not specify the closure of the campus, and was effectively a blank cheque for the VC and the DVC to decide policy in relation to Hastings.
For all these reasons, the decision taken at the last Board meeting cannot stand. It must be revisited following proper information-gathering, consultation and discussion by all appropriate bodies and affected parties. 

Join the lobby on Friday morning to ensure that governors hear this message.

4th May  7.30pm  Public Meeting HANDS OFF HASTINGS! Stop the closure of Brighton University’s Hastings Campus Azur, Marina Pavilion, Saint Leonards-on-Sea, TN38 0BU Speakers include:

  • Councillor Peter Chowney, leader Hastings Borough Council
  • Representatives from University of Brighton Students’ Union and staff trade unions

For report of public meeting please see the Hastings Campaign page


April 2016

29th April Campaign website launched https://handsoffhastings.wordpress.com

22nd April BBC South East Today run Hastings Campus Closure story - see Hastings Campaign page


13th April HandsoffHastings demonstration assemble the Level 1pm to march to Mithras House

March 2016

25th  March  HE news 43 sent out to branches recently sets out the campaign timetable and key events.


17th March  #HandsOffHastings rally this Thursday from 13:00. Starting at Costa Coffee in the town centre Brighton Student Union statement:  and check out Hastings Campus Solidarity Facebook group 


15th March Eastbourne and Hastings Branch pass following motion:

This branch notes

  • The decision by the University Board of Governors to close Hastings campus
  • The failure of the review into the viability of the campus to engage with staff or students at Hastings, or consider the wider cultural, social and economic benefits of the campus to Hastings.

This branch believes

  • That the closure would represent a dangerous precedent for all staff and students at the University of course closures and staff redundancies

This branch resolves

  • To appeal to the entire UCU membership at University of Brighton for support in resisting the closure  
  • To urge the UCU to use all means at its disposal, including industrial action, to defend the jobs of Hastings staff and the educational provision they currently provide.

14th March: emergency Eastbourne and Hastings Branch meeting  Please attend to demonstrate your support for each other and to get support from other site members. Unity is strength  13.00 -13.45 Room 101 in Lacuna Place, Hastings.

11th March: 
Report of VCs meeting with staff and students in Hastings Please sign the petition to stop the closure of the University of Brighton sites in Hastings.  Over 3,500 people already have in just three days. UNISON have also issued a letter to all their members condemning the decision and UCU have put statement on the national website 

10th March: opposition mounts University of Brighton Students' Union have put out two statements (here and here) and reports have appeared on local news (see here and here) and a facebook campaign page.  The Hastings and Rye Labour party have issued a statement condemning the decision as has the local Tory MP.  Hastings UCU members have called for support and solidarity from the whole university community.

8th March: Board of Governors make decision on future of Hastings.  In spite of the VCs rhetoric of "open communication", it was from the local Hastings Observer that UoB staff at Hastings discovered at the end of january that the university was considering closing down the Hastings campus.  Staff and students and their unions have spoken out against the possible closure (see the Student Union statement) as have the Hastings and Rye Labour party, the Hastings and St Leonards Strategic Partnership and the local MP Amber Rudd.  Today the results of the externally commissioned review were being put to the Board of Governors at an 8.30 meeting this mornings.  As the governors arrived they were greeted by a 50+strong lobby of UCU and UNISON members caling for the university to honour its commitment to Hastings. 


By early afternoon the VC has released a statement.  This is UCU's response: 

Members will have seen the VC's statement concerning the decision by the Board of Governors over the future of the Hastings Campus. The statement is less than frank about the actual decision taken.

In reality, the University intends to close the Hastings campus. This would be a phased operation over the next two years, resulting in complete withdrawal by 2018. There is an attempt to obscure this fact, and placate the local opposition to the University's withdrawal, by referring to elements of Brighton University validated degree provision which will continue to be delivered by South Coast College Hastings.

From the briefing provided to the unions by the Deputy Vice Chancellor today, existing courses would be dealt with in varying ways:
  • Some will move this year to another site of the University. 
  • Others would continue to recruit cohorts for the coming academic year but will move to another site in September 2018, for the students' final year.
  • There is a proposal to transfer some courses to South Coast FE College to join those UoB-validated degree programmes already offered by the college.
  • Some courses would close.
All of this would inevitably mean redundancies, which the University is not denying. It is likely to be administrative, technical and professional staff that are most at risk of losing their jobs. Depending on what happens to each of the courses, the best outcome for academic staff would be a transfer to Eastbourne or Brighton. It is not clear whether lecturers associated with courses which transfer to the FE College would transfer with them, but even if that were the case it would inevitably involve staff being forced from the HE salary scale and University of Brighton terms and conditions of employment to the far inferior ones that prevail in FE.
In addition, it is clear that some academic staff are at risk of redundancy.
The net result is that the University of Brighton would no longer have an operation in Hastings. The commitment to participate in the social and cultural regeneration of the town has been abandoned. The University claims that it is not legally obliged to repay any of the £12 million in public subsidy that it accepted 13 years ago, and therefore does not intend to do so.

The UCU remains committed to fighting to retain the Hastings Campus. We oppose the turn towards a corporate university that this decisions represents, and believe that the decision to withdraw represents a betrayal of the commitments the University entered into with its civic partners in the town. The University itself recognises that its operation is unlikely to be replaced by anything comparable in terms of its economic and cultural contribution, and that in the current climate the buildings may not even be saleable.

The University of Brighton has a proud tradition of not making academic staff redundant. The UCU will be seeking a guarantee that that record is maintained. Our branches have already passed motions committing the union to fight redundancies by all means at our disposal, up to and including industrial action. The possibility that university staff will be transferred to an FE college on worsened employment conditions represents a potential threat for all of us which we will also oppose.

We stand in solidarity with Unison in opposing redundancies of non-academic staff, many of whom will have little opportunity of equivalent alternative employment locally. We also believe that the University has a moral obligation to tax payers and the people of Hastings to pay back the regeneration money it accepted if it is now turning its back on the town.

The VC and the Management Board will present this decision as final and irrevocable. In fact it is nothing of the sort. Many of the details have not been worked out and much can change in two years. The scale of the opposition that the unions are able to mount can still play a role in shaping the outcome.
We will be organising branch meetings in the coming days to flesh out a campaign.
- Mark Abel


February 2016

27th Feb The second Convention for Higher Education will be held on Saturday 27th February 2016 to bring together as wide a constituency as is possible in defence of the sector, with the aim of defeating these changes. We welcome all those who share that commitment to join with us and campaign for the defence of the public university.Speakers from: UCU, Campaign for the Public University, Council for the Defence of British Universities & more. For more information see here

18th Feb HE London and South East Regional pay briefinga series of regional / devolved nation pay briefings have been arranged for February. At the briefings, branches will discuss the campaign and provide feedback on the proposed timetable for action. 

10th Feb  Agreement by Eastbourne UCU Branch members in support of colleagues at Hastings

This branch notes

  • the very successful UCU open meeting at Hastings, attended by academic  and support staff and the leader of Hastings council
  • the campaign launched in Hastings by the local community, local council and local MP.
  • the threat of the closure by the University of Brighton of its Hastings campus
  • that this would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and the loss of the education provision currently provided by them
  • that the Hastings campus has been playing an important role in widening educational opportunities in an area where participation in higher education is low
  • the shift in ethos away from community engagement signaled by a possible withdrawal by the University from Hastings following the decision not to proceed with a campus in the Gatwick Diamond.

This branch condemns

  • the fact that staff found out about the possible closure through the media
  • the lack of communication and consultation with staff and their unions prior to commissioning the review
  • the attack on Hastings staff regarding education provision made in the University’s statement to the press and repeated in the VC’s mailing.

This branch

  • reaffirms its opposition to any redundancies at University of Brighton
  • resolves to use all available means, up to and including industrial action if necessary, to prevent redundancies and maintain the provision of higher education at Hastings. 

6th Feb UCU's 3rd "Cradle to Grave" conference - this year with Jeremy Corbyn  https://www.ucu.org.uk/defendpubed16

2nd Feb Motion on Hastings closure passed unanimously by Grand Parade branch text below:

This branch notes

  • the threat of the closure by the University of Brighton of its Hastings campus
  • that this would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and the loss of the education provision currently provided by them
  • that the Hastings campus has been playing an important role in widening educational opportunities in an area where participation in higher education is low
  • the shift in ethos away from community engagement signalled by a possible withdrawal by the University from Hastings following the decision not to proceed with a campus in the Gatwick Triangle.

This branch condemns

  • the fact that staff found out about the possible closure through the media
  • the lack of consultation with staff and their unions prior to commissioning the review
  • the attack on Hastings staff made in the University’s statement to the press and repeated in the VC’s mailing.

This branch

  • reaffirms its opposition to all redundancies at University of Brighton
  • resolves to use all available means, up to and including industrial action if necessary, to prevent redundancies.


January 2016

30th January March Against the Cuts. Demonstrate Against the Cuts

Saturday 30 January, 12pm, from The Level to Bartholomew Square, Brighton 

UCU joined unions, anti-cuts campaigners, community groups, service users and supporters protesting against cuts on this march called by Brighton, Hove and District Trades Council to Bartholomew Square for a demonstration with speeches outside Brighton Town Hall.  Brighton Anti Cuts Demo Jan 30 2016 - YouTube 



27th January The Financial health of the University of Brighton.  Much concern has been raised by the VC's references to challenging financial situation of the University and how staff costs contributes to this. UCU has done a bit of analysis of the figures which paint a different picture here.

12th January Junior Doctors Strike Meet outside Grand Parade at 10am to join UCU and Student Union march to Latilla building of the Royal Sussex to join demonstration at 10.30 (or make your way directly there). 

11th January Press Conference of Turkish and Kurdish academics group "Academics for Peace" who have initiated a campaign entitled "We will not be a party to this crime!," following the atrocities committed by the Turkish state against Kurdish civilians over the last months.More than 1000 academics and researchers across Turkey have already signed.  There is also a list of international academics who are signing for "support" . You can see the statement in several languages, including English, in the link below. If you would like to sign the petition for support, you can email info@barisicinakademisyenler.net .


December 2015

2nd December Free Education Demonstration, Brighton - Students from Brighton and Sussex University have called a demonstration against the marketisation of HE and student homelessness. https://www.facebook.com/defendedbrighton/ 12pm Victoria Gardens, Brighton

1st December Junior doctors' strike - Tuesday . For Brighton-based members, show support and solidarity by joining the branch banner on doctors' picket lines 10am outside the Latilla Building, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Eastern Road, Brighton There will also be picket lines at Eastbourne and Hastings hospitals.

November 2015

30th November Brighton anti-war Organising meeting to restart a Brighton-based anti-war campaign group 6pm, The Quadrant, Queens Road

29th November Climate March London http://www.campaigncc.org/climatemarchlondon 12pm Park Lane, rally at Milbank 2.45pm

28th November Don't Bomb Syria national protest - Saturday  http://stopwar.org.uk/index.php/events/stop-the-war-events-national/don-t-bomb-syria-protest-action-page

25th November UCU Caseworker training

A very successful one day training session for UCU caseworkers was  held at Mithras.  It was lead by UCU full time officials and  attended by fifteen University of Brighton UCU members  and seven from other institutions locally (University of Sussex, City College, Sussex Downs College and Chichester University).  At Brighton we will be following this up with regular opportunities for members supporting others with case work to come together to discuss and share experiences.  The more caseworkers we have, the better able we are able to support colleagues.  If you would like to get involved in case work or find out more please contact Vicky Margree  (V.Margree@brighton.ac.uk)

16th November UCU recruitment week 

There will be lunchtime (12.30-2.30) recruitment stalls at a different campus on each day of the week: Monday - Moulsecoomb,
Tuesday - Grand Parade,
Wednesday - Falmer,
Thursday - Hastings,
Friday - Eastbourne
The more members we have, the stronger our voice.

10th November UCU responds to HE Green Paper here and additional response from group of academics, including some from this university, inThe Guardian here

4th November First meeting of the Lecturer's Common Interest Group (LCIG) where UCU reps negotiate with the Senior Management of the University - see November 2015 update in Lecturers Common Interest Group

September 2015


12th September Solidarity with Refugees
The UCU Coordinating Committee encourages those members who can to attend the Solidarity with Refugees demonstration called for this Saturday in London. There will be a UCU delegation on the march.
The UCU has always been at the forefront of campaigns to defend refugees and asylum seekers from demonisation and racism, as well as leading the fight to protect educational services for migrants, such as ESOL, from government cuts.
Details of the demonstration can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1047978998546751/
An article on trade unions and the refugee crisis written by Stop the War Coalition convenor and UCU member, Lindsey German can be found here: http://uculeft.org/2015/08/refugees-and-migrants-deserve-support-not-brutality-and-hypocrisy/
There will also be a rally in solidarity in Brighton 12 oclock at the War Memorial - details 

We attach a poem sent by a member, written by the Somali poet Warsan Shire, 


HOME by Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbours running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.
no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it's not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn't be going back.
you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough
go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off
or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between 
your legs
or the insults are easier 
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you 
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i've become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.

July 2015

2nd and 7th July Our colleagues in the NUT at the Eastbourne site of Sussex Downs College are on strike again on these two days against serious cuts which not only mean job losses but a huge deterioration to the service they offer.  This will mean:

  • Major A-Level Courses won’t be run at the College
  • No modern language provision left in Eastbourne
  • Students told courses won’t run just weeks before starting
  • Only 12 A-Level teaching hours a week for full time students
  • Teachers losing their Jobs
  • Library Shutting
  • Counselling Service Cuts Completely
Supporters are welcome on the picket lines from 8:30am in Eastbourne.
Please show your support by:
  • Signing the petition http://tinyurl.com/sdccuts and pass the link on
  • Tweet your support with a message using #sdcstrike and ask everyone to retweet - please do this on strike days if you can!

June 2015

25th June Sussex Downs College NUT Strike against Cuts

This is one of a series of strike dates  to oppose compulsory redundancies and government cuts to education. Cuts to Further Education now mean that funding for 16-18 year olds is now 25% lower than those in Secondary Education. These cuts will mean not only compulsory redundancies for teachers and more teachers being moved onto casual contracts without guaranteed hours but also major cuts in courses. For example Eastbourne will be left with no A-Level Modern Foreign Language provision outside of private schools.
Picket lines will be from 8:30am on Thursday the 25th June at the Kings Drive entrance to the Eastbourne Campus of Sussex Downs College.  Supporters are welcome at the Picket Line

The UCU coordinating committee sent Sussex Downs NUT this message of support: 

The Coordinating Committee of the Universitiy and College Union at the University of Brighton expresses its support and solidarity for your strike tomorrow. We congratulate you on your 96% vote for action and your determination to fight to defend jobs and to oppose the deterioration of the service that you provide. We are all aware of the huge challenges that another five years of planned Tory austerity mean for all of us working in education. Your action is an inspiration to us as we prepare for our own battles to come. We wish you every success.


20th June National Demonstration to End Austerity Now
A group from Brighton UCU went, joining an estimated 250,000 demonstrating against austerity and its impacts. 


18th June UCU and NUT jointly convened  a well attended public meeting on the University of Brighton Free School Proposal at 7pm Thursday 18th June 2015, Hanover Room Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton BN1 1YD. More details and account of the meeting here

16th June SaveFE Lobby of Parliament http://fefunding.org.uk/tag/ucu/

13th June Preventing Violent Extremism? Conference here 

9th June The outgoing branch officers have decided to re-constitute the AGM for a date when more members will be able to attend  September the 30th at 1pm. Room to be confirmed. 

9th June Falmer Branch AGM: Nadia Edmond elected as chair, Deborah Gibberd as branch secretary, Chris Cocking as membership secretary, Sara Bragg as Equal Opportunities rep, Linnette King as Health and Safety rep. They will be joined by the following School reps: Humanities - Angela Pickering, SASS- David Watson, Education- Mike Hayler and Erica Evans, Health Sciences - Chris Cocking. 

4th June Eastbourne branch AGM took place.  Thelma Lackey was elected as chair,Alec Grant as secretary and Josh Cameron as membership secretary. The officers elected at Eastbourne today will be supported by two reps at Hastings who had already volunteered - Abigail Wincott and Gloria Whittaker.  The new Eastbourne officers already have plans for video conferenced branch meetings across the two sites.

March 2015

30th March latest edition of UCU HE News is available here

24th March 7pm Friends Meeting House People’s Debate for the NHS General election candidates for Brighton Pavillion answer questions from the public on the NHS

20th March 7.30pm Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, General Election Education Question Time


18th March
For Motions for UCU Congress passed at quorate branch meetings see UCU Congress link on the left of this page

14th March  Women’s History Festival Brighthelm Centre. A one-day festival of talks, workshops, guided walks and exhibitions to celebrate women’s lives, struggles and achievements. There will be activities for children throughout the day. http://freeuniversitybrighton.org/events/womens-history-festival/

5th March 8pm Rock against the fees. Benefit night for Free Education Brighton.Latest Music Bar


February 2015

Thursday 26th Feb there is Protest outside the Council meeting at Hove Town Hall against cuts to local services and a march against cuts to Children's Services and Childrens Centres’ starting at 3.30pm from New Road BN1 1SD, A family friendly march will go to the town hall to lobby against cuts.

The Free Education Brighton Campaign has responded to our Vice Chancellor’s very public support for £9,000 tuition fees last month, with an open letter here

Troops to Teachers 

We note the expansion of the Troops to Teachers programme led by the University of Brighton School of Education.  Currently, around a third of trainee teachers are career changers who, supported by teacher educators (and UCU members), have made the switch into teaching from a different career.  We welcome the contribution that such career changers make to the teaching profession when appropriately qualified, coming as they do from a range of backgrounds.  

The Troops to Teachers programme, and its expansion, are justified by the claim that ex-service personnel from the Armed Forces have gained skills and experiences which are invaluable to teaching, and which need to be brought into schools.  We reject this premise.

The experience and skills of ex-Armed Services personnel are no more relevant to teaching than are those acquired in many other occupations. To suggest otherwise represents a misunderstanding of the complex and varied nature of teaching as a profession, and leaves the programme open to the charge of contributing to a militarization agenda in schools.  At a time when austerity and public sector cuts are threatening the livelihoods of many in our society, such as teaching assistants, and youth and children’s centre workers, rigorous and high quality conversion programmes to the teaching profession need to be open to a broad range of workers, which should include, but not be exclusively for, those leaving the Armed Forces.  

UCU Coordinating Committee


Professor Sir David Watson 

 It is with sadness that we heard the news of the death of Professor Sir David Watson.

Professor Sir David Watson managed the process of transition from Polytechnic to University at Brighton with diligence and imagination, and led the process through which staff and students laid the foundations for the careful expansion and development of the institution at which we study and work today. A scholar of the work of Hannah Arendt and of the process of Higher Education, he also established, on leaving Brighton, a distinguished career at the Institute of Education and at the University of Oxford. Outside Brighton, Professor Watson was also a member of the Dearing Committee into Higher Education. Nevertheless, he was an opponent of the £9,000 tuition fees, and of the commodification of Higher Education.

The Coordinating Committee, and union members who worked with Sir David on the Lecturers' Common Interest Group (LCIG) at Brighton, and on the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC), have expressed their condolences to his family on behalf of members at Brighton, and pay tribute to his work at Brighton for the University, and for his contribution to the understanding of Higher Education as a social good.

UCU Coordinating Committee


Academic freedom and the counter-terrorism and security bill
UCU is campaigning against proposals in the government’s Counter-terrorism and Security Bill which we believe pose a threat to academic freedom and this week saw high profile coverage of the union's legal objections and our letter signed by over 500 senior academics published in the Guardian. Help defend academic freedom against counter-terrorism bill duties, sign the petition here

Fighting Against Casualisation in Education
The campaigning group "Fighting Against Casualisation in Education (FACE" is organising a national conference on the 7th February https://faceducation.wordpress.com/. Tne conference is free, anyone interested in attending please contact Patricia McManus to get details of how Brighton UCU can help with travel costs. 

Annual meeting for staff on casualised contracts 2015
This circular contains the agenda and motions for debate at the annual meeting for staff on casualised contracts to be held on Friday 13 February 2015 and includes nominations received to the Anti-Casualisation Committee.

Higher Education Sector Conference
Following receipt of requiisitions under rule 16.10 from at least 20 Higher Education (HE) branch quorate general meetings, a special meeting of the HE sector conference (HESC) has been convened on the 24th February 2015 to debate the campaigns to defend pensions in HE and to defend the capacity of the UCU to call industrial action short of a strike as part of those campaigns.  Branch meetings will be called to debate possible motions prior to the 12th February (deadline for motions). 


January 2015

At a very well attended Moulsecoomb Branch meeting on the 21st Jan,  members passed the motion below unanimously.  The meeting had been addressed by Mark Abel, Chair of Co-Com who updated members on UCU’s work to get the Head of PABS to not use redundancy as a way of managing staff when external research funds finished. 

Opposition to Redundancies at the University of Brighton

This Branch roundly condemns any attempt by the senior management to move the University of Brighton away from its tradition of not tolerating compulsory redundancies.

We call on the senior management to support those groups of our academic colleagues in PABS in securing their continuing employment and professional development at our University.

We insist that the current management team adhere assiduously to Brighton’s reputation for keeping and nurturing ALL its staff and not turn to the discredited strategies of dumping staff when pots of funding money or income streams disappear. 


November 2014

Monday 17 November sees the start of UCU's 2014 anti-stress & bullying week in post-16 education in the UK.This week of action has become a focus for raising awareness and an opportunity to include these issues in local campaigning and joint negotiations. The aims for the week are to:

  • raise members awareness about stress and bullying

  • investigate the scale of the problem in your workplace

  • highlight local results (where available) from UCU's 2014 stress survey, and

  • identify and develop strategies for negotiating to overcome employer poor practice.

October 2014

30/10/14 University of Leeds UCU today sent a letter to th Vice Chancellor of the University of York, who yesterday threatened to stop paying their staff if they participated in legal and legitimate industrial action. Please visit the website and sign the petition below the letter text. http://leedsucu.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/open-letter-to-the-vc-of-the-university-of-york/


16/10/14 Britain Needs a Pay Rise TUC March and Rally on the 18th October http://www.tuc.org.uk/economic-issues/britain-needs-pay-rise Local Trades Unions including UCU are organising train transport to London - book seat through your UCU rep or n.edmond@brighton.ac.uk.

Members of UCU in English colleges will be out on strike on Tuesday 14 October over pay. The union's further education committee met on Friday to consider the results of a member consultation on the 2014/15 pay offer. Eight-five per cent of members who participated in the e-ballot voted to reject the 1% pay offer and support strike action in an effort to secure an improved deal. Please come stand with our UCU banner to support the pickets at City College from 8:30am - 10am.

The situation resulting from under-recruitment in a programme area in Art Design and Media led to staff raising a number of concerns and members of the UCU Coordinating Committee met with the new Deputy Vice Chancellor, Chris Pole, and the Director of HR, Gavin Wright, to seek clarification.Local Issues

July 2014: Important changes to your working conditions agreed between the UCU and the University of Brighton, see Local Agreements

16th July - Brighton UCU proud to support Hove Park teachers striking against academy at Hove Park.  71% of parents balloted and 80% of teachers  want to keep Hove Park a Local Authority School. Solidarity in resisting privatisation of education!

UPDATE September 2014: Trade Union action and Campaigning works! Hove Park governors have voted not to pursue Academy plans


Lambeth College Strike - UCU members at the University of Brighton raised £720 for Lambeth College strikers on all out indefinite strike for over a month in fight against imposition of new contracts for new staff with much worse terms and conditions. For updates on the dispute http://lambethcollegestrike.wordpress.com/

June 2014: Following AGMs in June, new branch officers and other positions have been elected, see "Contact Us" for the latest information. 

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This film shows UCU staff explaining why UCU members went on strike this year


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