Striking workers ‘shut down’ Brighton University as ‘abhorrent’ bosses fail to move on redundancies

Brighton UCU staging a picket at Brighton University
Support us and go ad-free

As promised, workers at the University of Brighton have continued their campaign against redundancies into the new academic year. Members of the University and College Union (UCU) and their supporters “shut down” campus – and won’t be returning to work any time soon.

Brighton University and its ‘abhorrent’ bosses

As the Canary has been documenting, bosses at Brighton University are making over 100 staff redundant. A PhD researcher at Brighton University, Kathryn Zacharek, has been writing from the frontline of the dispute for us. She’s laid out how the institution is now a mess, with bosses are closing parts of it while spending massive amounts of money elsewhere.

As Zacharek noted, among the 80 voluntary and 20-odd forced redundancies are lecturers Dr Tom Bunyard and Dr Cathy Bergin. They have expertise in philosophy, critical theory, and cultural histories of anti-racism and anti-colonialism, respectively. Zacharek wrote:

After years of hard work and dedication to their students, how senior management is treating them is simply abhorrent. It is also the height of hypocrisy that an institution which prides itself on its equality, diversity and inclusion policies wants to sack an anti-racism scholar.

Of course, bosses are blaming ‘rising costs’, blah, blah, blah. So, Brighton UCU and the campaigns UoB Solidarity and PGR’s Brighton have vowed to keep up the fight against the bosses’ toxic actions. Brighton University UCU members began an indefinite strike against the proposed redundancies on Monday 3 July. They said in a statement that unless management drop the compulsory redundancies:

no preparation for the new academic year will take place and the autumn term will not start.

Now, with no movement from bosses, Brighton UCU has held good to its word – and begun disrupting the new academic year.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Shut it down

As Brighton and Hove News reported, over the summer academics from the university warned students off from enrolling there. Brighton UCU secretary Ryan Burns said:

In previous years during clearing, I would tell prospective students about how great their course would be and how much they would enjoy studying at Brighton.

But with our university management forcing through over 100 redundancies this year, many staff feel they cannot currently in good conscience encourage people to study here.

Then, the group staged a picket on Monday 4 September which it claims to have “shut down” Brighton University:

Online, people posted in support of the workers:

At Brighton, other groups joined Brighton UCU on the picket line:

The national UCU also lent its support to striking Brighton University workers:


The bus drivers also refused to cross Brighton UCU’s picket line on 4 September:

However, people noted the absence of support from Brighton Students’ Union:

Brighton bosses remain tight lipped

So far, bosses at Brighton University have kept their heads down – with some even deleting their X (formerly Twitter) accounts. Publicly, they’re presenting a message of ‘all is well’ – even telling Brighton and Hove News that the redundancies have been:

carefully planned to avoid an impact on our students and our academic standards have in no way been affected by the changes.

This is blatantly not the case – and no amount of spin will mask the fact that Brighton University bosses and their disastrous mismanagement has caused this dispute. Brighton UCU won’t be backing down. So, expect further disruption as the academic year progresses.

Featured image via Brighton UCU

Support us and go ad-free

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us