Jason Toynbee, UCU retired member
Day 6 of the strike and the sun came out on a frosty morning in Brighton. But the spirit on the pickets is high and there’s a growing sense that this dispute can – must – be won. The number of students going in at both universities is down to a trickle. Last week at Brighton’s Moulsecoomb campus there was a well attended joint student-staff rally. This morning students at Sussex have again blockaded Sussex House, the main admin building. Workers are being sent home. And at lunchtime there is a combined Brighton and Sussex demonstration for students and staff at Brighton station. Support and determination are growing. Victory to the UCU!
And Connor Rosoman, Brighton Socialist Society
Despite the cold weather, striking UCU staff at Brighton and Sussex universities have shown a determined mood, and spirits have been high at pickets across town.
In many places, they have been joined by students showing solidarity with their staff. At Sussex, students have organised daily solidarity meetings and have successfully shut down the management building with blockades at the entrance. However, Brighton University students face the challenge of a Students Union that has despicably opposed the strikes, and students that openly support the strike have faced reprisals as a result. Socialist Alternative members have discussed with Brighton students around how to challenge these actions from the Students’ Union.
Staff from both universities attended the climate strike on Friday 29th November. This is a positive step, showing the potential there is for workers to make links with the school strikers and to build the climate movement.
Among many members of staff, as well as students, there has been an increasing politicisation around the upcoming General Election. Socialist Alternative members have been raising the importance of the links that these struggles can develop between students and workers in fighting for socialist change during and beyond this election.
Sofia Wiking, Leicester Socialist Alternative
On the Leicester picket morale has been good, despite the miserable weather, with the usual racket we remember from last year’s strike, being made by drums, whistles, musical instruments and voices.