As part of a national strike day, members of UCU at Sussex university have been picketing. They were joined by other education workers and students at the entrance to campus who expressed their support for industrial action.
UCU are involved in a series of rolling strikes across the UK which started last week in Scotland and culminate in a FE and HE strike on Thursday. Strikes are nominally over changes to the pension scheme, however at Sussex it was clear that strikers see this as part of the wider fight against austerity. This was also in evidence from the solidarity from students and education workers well beyond the UCU membership.
At a lunchtime rally in Library Square, a Sussex UCU official argued that ultimately the financial crisis caused by the bankers was responsible for attacks on the pension system. They also stressed how conciliatory the union's approach had been to management, requesting talks at the arbitration servive, ACAS, which university bosses have rejected.
One of the strikers commented that: "we are in a position of weakness, which is why bosses have been refusing to even negotiate. It does feel a bit like going through the motions with a symbolic strike - but the attacks are going to keep coming unless we escalate disruptive action of our own. This is still the beginning and any future reversal will be based on genuine solidarity - of which there was plenty today."