Sussex students have occupied a building on the New East Slope construction site

Forty students have occupied a building on the New East Slope construction site at Sussex University in solidarity with UCU industrial action.

Student-led group Sussex Supports the Strike announced that they have occupied the site and have said they will halt construction “for as long as it takes to force management to meet our demands.”

The occupation comes hours before a planned national demonstration is due to take place at Sussex University, with over 550 people expected to attend.

In a post on Facebook, Sussex Supports the Strike issued three demands:

  • Adam Tickell (University of Sussex Vice Chancellor) use his position as lead negotiator of Universities UK to meet the demands of striking staff
  • The University of Sussex halt the “social cleansing” on campus and maintain the previous rent of the occupied site at £88.56pw, instead of the planned £156.55
  • Balfour Beatty, the construction company at the site, stop blacklisting trade union reps and allow trade union UNITE unhindered and unsupervised access to the site in order to allow workers to exercise their rights and unionise

The New East Slope residence is due to house its first students in September and will replace the current East Slope residence, with the remaining flats due to be demolished over the summer.

The University of Sussex has all but closed today, with teaching and student services suspended due to the national demonstration. Services on campus are limited, with Students’ Union outlets due to open later in the day. However, Eat Central, the Co-op and the Students’ Union building remain open as normal, although the Co-op will only start selling alcohol later this afternoon.

More to follow.