A campus building at the University of Sussex has been blocked by students showing solidarity with striking lecturers.

Students have blocked the entrances to Sussex House, home to university staff offices, to call for fair pay and secure employment for members of the University and Colleges Union (UCU).

Protesters, including from the student-led group Sussex Student Solidarity, said they were disappointed by the “silence and irresponsible inaction” of the university’s Vice-Chancellor Sasha Roseneil.

The group said: "University staff do not want to be striking, let alone for this long, but they are left with no choice when facing only silence from employers and bosses.

"The university is responsible for the living conditions of their employees and they're refusing to provide the proper conditions for these workers. 

"The University of Sussex loves to trade on an image of itself as a progressive place. It's time they put their money where their mouth is and speak up for staff.

"If they want to ignore our disruption, we will bring the disruption to them.

“University employers must engage in meaningful and sincere action in favour of our staff and students.”


Banners have been hung up around the building with slogans such as, “community need not corporate greed” and “end of the line - it’s negotiation time”.

Protesters were also seen with the anarchist flag along the makeshift picket line.

More than 70,000 staff at around 150 universities have taken industrial action, including at Sussex University.

However, general secretary of the UCU Jo Grady, said that a breakthrough in the dispute could be within grasp.

She said: "After weeks of intensive negotiations, university employers have finally agreed to put forward a set of proposals on pay, conditions and pensions.

"This breakthrough is down to the strength, determination and sacrifice of university workers who have stood on picket lines.

"The proposals will now move through our union’s democratic processes, and strike action will continue until our 70,000 UCU members have had the chance to have their say."

The Argus: Protesters have blockaded Sussex House at the University of Sussex's campusProtesters have blockaded Sussex House at the University of Sussex's campus (Image: Sussex Student Solidarity)

It comes just months after students at the university occupied a building at a student accommodation site that was set to be demolished as part of a £200 million development.

Students “reclaimed” the social centre at the Park Village residence in October, calling for the new accommodation development to remain affordable.

Protesters last year also stormed and occupied a lecture theatre on campus demanding hybrid working and better pay and conditions for university staff.

A University of Sussex spokeswoman said: "This industrial action was called over national issues and is happening at around 150 universities across the UK. 

"We respect colleagues’ right to strike to improve pay, working conditions, and pensions – and the rights of students to support them.

"Progress with campus unions including the UCU has been made nationally. Earlier this month, universities announced a pay uplift for staff of between five per cent and seven per cent, with the lowest paid set to benefit most.

"At Sussex, significant progress has already been made in collaboration with UCU following a joint agreement on areas of employment policy and practice. And in November, the university announced a new package of support for its students and staff to help them manage rising living costs which, when combined with similar support provided in the summer, totals around £6.6 million.

"In respect of the pensions scheme, Universities UK has recently indicated that, following a new valuation, employees should see pensions benefits improve and return to pre-April 2022 levels."