A UNIVERSITY has admitted it has called for the “review of all temporary agency staff arrangements” amid claims it will be cutting all staff on casual or temporary contracts.

A petition to University of Sussex vice chancellor Adam Tickell is demanding the university “stop sacking their staff” as the coronavirus crisis throws many businesses into a period of uncertainty.

It has been signed more than 6,360 times.

Mhairi Tordoff, who started the Stop Sussex From Sacking Their Staff campaign, said: “The university does not need to do this. Students are continuing to pay fees and Adam Tickell himself has said the university’s finances are healthy.

“Staff at Sussex have been working flat out to get teaching online and make sure their students are safe and well. They should not be treated like this. The University of Sussex is profiteering off a health pandemic, throwing their most vulnerable staff under the bus to save a bit of money. We need to stop them.”

A university spokesman said it was in a “sound financial position” but was currently making “ important financial decisions to manage the existing and potential challenges ahead”. He said: “Given the uncertainty many sectors are facing, we need to ensure the long-term sustainability of the organisation.”

New guidelines ask budget holders at the university to “reduce non-essential budget expenditure” as well as holding off on recruiting new permanent staff.

It has also asked them to “review all temporary agency staff arrangements, if they are not business critical roles”.

The spokesman said: “We want to be clear that all fixed-term contract payments will be honoured till the end of the contract and then reviewed before the end of the term, which may result in a new contract being offered. In many cases, the agreements are for medium to long-term periods of time, so the review will not be taking place immediately.

“If these roles are considered critical to the running of the organisation, the agreement will be renewed.”

He said that research staff that are externally funded will remain as normal.

The spokesman said: “We understand that these are trying times for many people and we will be ensuring that we provide clarity to our staff on these matters.”