Sussex Uni: 300 staff and students demonstrate at lunchtime protest

Sussex Uni: 300 staff and students demonstrate at lunchtime protest
Sussex Uni: 300 staff and students demonstrate at lunchtime protest

Staff and students rallied against planned privatisation of over 10% of campus jobs in Library Square this lunchtime.

Submitted by Joseph Kay on May 22, 2012

Staff had come equipped to disrupt a planned 'bidders meeting' with many carrying airhorns, only to discover management had moved the meeting to the Amex stadium across the road. With security and conference staff amongst those facing outsourcing, this suggests management don't feel able to hold such meetings on campus without the details leaking out and the threat of disruption.

The 235 jobs facing privatisation include catering, porters and security staff. If the plans go ahead, staff will have their terms and conditions transferred over to their new employers under 'TUPE' laws. However, the history of outsourcing suggests this offers limited protection, as new hires are brought in on inferior terms and the workforce is divided. There are also fears that long-serving university staff will be moved out of the university pension scheme.

Resources for Sussex workers: guides to workplace organising | guide to sick-outs | a guide to working-to-rule

Comments

Steven.

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on May 22, 2012

Also, with TUPE, the new employers can always say they need to restructure a little down the line and then cut pay and conditions.

Also, not all terms and conditions are protected under TUPE, just some. Redundancy payment rights, for example, don't transfer

Between Your Teeth

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Between Your Teeth on May 22, 2012

yeah, having been through this process myself turns out TUPE is a (toilet) paper tiger.

like steven says it can have implications for pensions.

also terms and conditions can be changed post TUPE for "valid economic, technical or organisational reasons." so that pretty conclusively covers pretty much all situations ever.

in addition i'm lead to believe that any collective bargaining agreements in the contract that get transferred over do not have to honoured by the new organisation.

Steven.

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on May 22, 2012

Yes, that's correct re collective bargaining. A big reason behind outsourcing/privatisation is breaking up workers' organisation.

Quite recently, precedent was also set taking away cost of living pay increases to TUPE transferred workers

Joseph Kay

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on May 23, 2012

Thanks, that's useful to know. I spoke to some cleaners who'd been through outsourcing with a previous employer, and they'd all been made redundant by the new employer and made to reapply for (less) jobs. So yeah the reassurances this is about catering for expanded student numbers not cost-cutting ring hollow.

Does anyone know of examples of outsoutcing being stopped, especially in education? I can only think of the Royal Mail failing to find a buyer and the London Underground maintenance being forced back in house. A common feature to both was a militant workforce, though in the latter case contractor mismanagement played a big part too.

Fall Back

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fall Back on May 23, 2012

Wasn't that the context/result of the 2001 Brighton refuse workers dispute?

Again, both militancy and contractor mismanagement (or so I'm led to believe) apply.

Luke Cooper

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Luke Cooper on May 23, 2012

Have cross-posted with link to Anticapitalist Initiative:

http://anticapitalists.org/2012/05/23/sussex-uni-300-staff-and-students-demonstrate-at-lunchtime-protest/

If that's not ok, let us know!

Cheers,

Luke

Joseph Kay

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on May 23, 2012

Luke, that's fine. Including the 'resources' links at the end would be good; there's been some talk of 'if we all called in sick tomorrow...' so I think it's good to put the info out there, alongside any official action that comes in the following months.

UCU have a brief report up here, including:

Sussex UCU

To give an indication of what management are planning next, we have just spotted an advert in the vacancies section for candidates to facilitate outsourcing. There is a reference to 'potential major new academic partnerships', the meaning of which is as yet unclear but, given recent developments, certainly has troubling implications.http://www.sussex.ac.uk/aboutus/jobs/617

Sounds like management intend this to be one of several waves of outsourcing and casualisation, if they're recruiting a specialist accountant for the purpose. Although Job 617 has now disappeared from the university jobs page... Did anyone catch the closing date, or have they pulled it as it gave away their game plan?

no1

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by no1 on May 23, 2012

Joseph Kay

Although Job 617 has now disappeared from the university jobs page... Did anyone catch the closing date, or have they pulled it as it gave away their game plan?

The closing date was 18. May, but the page is still in the google cache cache:sussex.ac.uk/aboutus/jobs/617

The full job description is still on the Sussex server.

Joseph Kay

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on May 23, 2012

Ta; grabbed the pdf and quoting here for posterity:

Sussex Jobs

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Commercial Accountant to provide expertise to the University in commercial finance initiatives. Working within the Finance Department and reporting directly to the Finance Director this role will be fundamental in enabling the University to undertake major commercial activity successfully and with appropriate due diligence.
(...)
[the role of the department includes] assisting in the identification and exploitation of commercial opportunities or cost reduction processes in line with the University's strategic aims
(...)
[the purpose of this job is] To deliver commercial value through application of financial business expertise to all aspects of major commercial activity, encompassing a business approach both to ongoing activities (such as tuition and accommodation fee setting together with scholarships and student support arrangements) and to major new/changed activities (these would include, using recent examples, sale of Horizons Childcare business, extending outsourcing of services, and in future, potential major new academic partnerships and outsourcing of residential build).

Joseph Kay

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on May 25, 2012

Another demo yesterday, with a third one planned for Tuesday. Pics: