Striking UCU members at University of Brighton returned to work on Friday 10th November after 129 days on strike.

Staff voted overwhelmingly to stage an indefinite strike in response to a plan to cut over 100 jobs – about 10% of the academic staff base. In May, 400 staff were declared at risk of redundancy, and after 80 took voluntary redundancy, the strike began on 3rd July to stop an additional 22 lecturers and researchers being made compulsorily redundant.

At this time, the University was already withholding 100% of the pay of staff participating in UCU’s national marking and assessment boycott (MAB) and continued to do so until the MAB ended on 6th September.

Despite the strike causing serious disruption to the beginning of the academic year, the University pressed ahead with the redundancies, with employment ending for the last of the targeted staff on 27th October. Some of the dismissed staff are still waiting for their appeals against redundancy and employment tribunals may follow.

Brighton UCU remained on strike to press for the dropping of disciplinary action against four branch reps targeted for picketing, to seek protection against victimisation on a return to work, and for a rebate on the punitive MAB deductions.

Members’ determination to continue the fight means that they return to work with an improved offer on MAB deductions without UCU having to end its campaign against the University’s disastrous management or sign up to their punitive conditions.

The dispute remains live with the focus now on defending the branch reps threatened with victimisation.

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