Joint Statement by UCU Sussex Executive Committee and the Vice-Chancellor
Posted on behalf of: Internal Communications
Last updated: Friday, 2 June 2023
Please see below a joint statement from the UCU Sussex Executive Committee and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sussex, Sasha Roseneil, regarding the ongoing industrial action around national pay and working conditions:
Joint Statement by UCU Sussex Executive Committee and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sussex, Sasha Roseneil
The current situation in the national dispute about pay and working conditions, including the marking and assessment boycott, is evidence of serious and systemic problems in higher education in the UK. The long-term under-funding of our sector has contributed to erosion in staff pay and deteriorating working conditions, and, together with disparities in the distribution of resources between universities, is making resolution of the dispute very difficult.
We deeply regret that the marking and assessment boycott jeopardises the progression and graduation of our students, a cohort that has already experienced significant disruption due to the pandemic. Industrial action also exacts a considerable toll on UCU members and on other university staff. We know that staff care about and want to support their students and to see them succeed in their studies.
We jointly want this dispute to be resolved as quickly as possible and for students to have their work marked by their tutors on time. This will require further negotiation between UCEA and UCU, and we call for talks to restart. It was regrettable that talks have so far failed to resolve the dispute. It is only through dialogue that the current deadlock will end.
In a spirit of cooperation, UCU Sussex and the University of Sussex brought a local marking and assessment boycott to an end in 2022 by negotiating a deal which took steps towards addressing pay and conditions, reducing the use of fixed term contracts, addressing inequalities, improving maternity leave, and managing workloads. We wish to build on this shared purpose, and we call for national bodies to engage with one another in the same open and progressive spirit, to find solutions to the underfunding of the sector and to improve the working conditions of university staff.