Striking university staff have threatened to postpone the start of the academic year over the threat of compulsory redundancies.

More than 100 staff will be cut at the University of Brighton as part of financial savings by management.

However, the Brighton branch of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) has protested against the move and has demanded that Vice-Chancellor Debra Humprhis step down over the plans.

The union announced on social media that academic staff will take industrial action “indefinitely” from July 3, threatening to jeopardise the start of the new academic year.

A spokesman for the union said: “The University of Brighton academic year 2023/24 will not begin until Debra Humphris drops her threat of compulsory redundancies.

“We need our talented lecturers to keep their jobs so we can get the best education possible.”

The academic year concluded on June 9, with the new term set to start on September 25.

It comes as staff begin two weeks of industrial action in protest against having pay docked for taking part in a nationwide marking and assessment boycott by the UCU in an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.


A University of Brighton spokesman said: “The changes to our workforce are necessary to help the university make financial savings and are part of our wider strategy to respond to changing student demand for the courses they want to study and the ways in which they want to learn.

“Through this process, we will ensure we have the right staff with the right skills and experience to continue to deliver our full range of courses.

“We anticipate that, subject to the outcome of the consultation, approximately 110 colleagues will leave the university.

“The majority of these will be through voluntary redundancy and in a number of areas we do not anticipate needing to make any compulsory redundancies, which will be used only as a last resort.

“We know that this is a very difficult and concerning time for our staff and we continue to do all we can to support those colleagues impacted by these proposals.”

The spokesman also said the decision by the local branch of UCU to take part in the marking boycott had been “deliberately timed to cause maximum disruption to our students during their end-of-year assessments”.

He said: “Understandably, this is of most concern to our final-year students as they look ahead to graduation next month.

“We are doing everything in our power to ensure our students are able to progress and complete their course, including those who will be graduating this summer, and we are aided in this by the majority of staff who remain committed to supporting our students.”