On the 20th July, 23 members of academic staff at the University of Brighton were issued with compulsory redundancy notices. This follows the voluntary redundancy reluctantly accepted by another 80 members of staff who were otherwise set to face a similar outcome.
The latest redundancies are part of a series of ‘necessary’ budget cuts taking place at the university which somehow still finds more than £255,000 each year to line the Vice Chancellor’s pockets.
The cuts and subsequent redundancies have triggered an explosion of strike action across the university campuses among students and staff, with UCU members at the university now on strike indefinitely.
Management continues to ‘reassure’ students that it will minimise the impacts of the strike on them but many have rightly concluded that it is indeed the budget cuts to key departments and the subsequent loss of valued staff members that will devastate learning conditions at the university.
University management looks to divide students from staff, demoralising staff and sending them back into work. This is why it has been especially promising to see students as a big part of the fight at Brighton!
— UCU Left (@UcuLeft) July 24, 2023
Attacks on working and learning conditions are not new or unique to the University of Brighton. Higher education is crumbling under the immense pressures of the capitalist crisis. The University of East Anglia, for example, has announced a similar plan to make 113 staff members redundant in order to cut 46 million pounds worth of costs.
Meanwhile, similar impacts of the capitalist crisis are being felt across all sectors. It is no coincidence that simultaneous waves of strike action across industries such as health, transport, and the postal services have spread across the country.
The plunder of key industries for the sake of profit is part and parcel of capitalism. As such, trade unions across all sectors should unite their struggles, taking action together in order to strike the most decisive blow to the government, to the bosses, and to the capitalist system.
At the latest UCU congress, the delegates voted to ‘Kick Capitalism out of Higher Education’, calling for a national student-staff joint campaign to achieve this. With these deep budget cuts at Universities across the country, this must be put into practise with a militant fight.
The Marxist Student Federation stands in solidarity with the striking workers at the University of Brighton! Ultimately, the only solution to the crisis faced in higher education is to place universities under the democratic control of university staff and students. For this, we must take the economy out of the hands of the bosses.
Kick capitalism out of higher education! Solidarity with the UCU at Brighton!