Friday, 5 March 2010

Trades council condemns university management for using violence against students

Brighton, Hove & District Trades Union Council wholeheartedly condemns the action of the University of Sussex management in calling in police to attack a peaceful group of protesters on Wednesday 3 March.

We understand that around eight police van and six patrol cars were deployed onto the campus, together with dog squads, and that several students were injured by police officers and others were arrested or detained.

We believe that the tactics used by police were disproportionate and heavy-handed - indeed, they are reminiscent of the utterly discredited policing of the G20 protests last year.

Trades Council understands that the students were protesting against the proposed redundancies of over 100 staff as well the closing of services such as the Creche. This level of reduction in staffing would have huge consequences for the quality of education at the University. This was part of a national day of action against cuts to higher education provision across the country. At Sussex this is not the first demonstration by students against these proposals but the first in which the police have been used to break it up.

We note that University management authorised this violence against students on the same day that UCU union announced that its members at University of Sussex had just achieved the highest turnout in a ballot for industrial action in UCU history, voting overwhelmingly to take industrial action in defence of education and jobs. We cannot believe that this is a coincidence: this blatant attempt to intimidate trade union members and students is one of the most reactionary pieces of industrial relations that has ever come to our attention.


Brighton, Hove & District Trades Union Council