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Marking boycott and negotiations update

Negotiators Update

Negotiations with UEG on our Four Fights and USS dispute are currently ongoing. As a reminder, our demands have been made available online via Padlet. We submitted a draft of a joint statement on USS and are now working towards a more robust third draft. Our lead negotiators, Jo Pawlik and Jackie Grant, are currently in negotiations regarding UEG's most recent offer.

UEG have responded with, ‘an offer of a graded one-off payment - starting at £300 and raising to £800 for lower grades - non-consolidated, non-pensionable payment to each member of staff in recognition of the current inflation crisis impact on staff and in recognition of the hard work of staff in the past year.’ In response to the other 21 demands, they have agreed to set up a working groups with agreed timeframes.

At our EGM on 31 May over 100 members met to discuss this offer and to propose a stronger statement on our Equalities demands, a more robust statement on USS in light of recent announcements and to demand a better pay offer. UEG's offer failed to address the historic fall in pay across the sector, entrenched inequalities, spiralling workloads, increasing casualisation, the immediate cost of living crisis.

It was proposed by members at the EGM that our negotiators return to UEG with members sentiments and seek a final offer for members to vote on.

UEG returned with an agreement for negotiators to propose a progressive counter offer. With a view to this UCU Sussex will send an email to all members on Wednesday 1 June to ask our members to vote on UEG's local disputes offer.

Our negotiating team have also secured an offer that will include an exit strategy from the Marking Boycott, no deductions from pay for the period of no marking, DT inclusion in one-time payment, and a strengthening of the Joint Statement on USS.

Jo and Jackie will hold a members' meeting on Monday 6 June to put the offer to a democratic vote.

Ending the boycott and further action

The marking boycott is part of a Sussex UCU local negotiation. If our demands are met to the satisfaction of members we can request that Sussex end the marking and assessment boycott.

The wider national actions on the four fights and USS will continue independently.

A reminder that Sussex made a surplus of £21m in 2020/21, and £12.7m in 2019/20. That staff costs at Sussex are 55% of expenditure, our mean Gender Pay Gap is 17.9%. If we compare with Brighton University, staff costs are 65%, and the mean Gender Pay Gap is 9.6%. While Sussex employer pension contributions amount to £2m less than at an equivalent post-92 institution, for a pensions scheme that is now less than half the value.

We’re aware this is a difficult period for members and it is vital that you make your voices heard. Please consider attending on both Monday and Tuesday. Our negotiating team is working extremely hard to ensure our demands are met, securing an adequate offer from UEG.

If you have any queries please contact your department Rep or get in touch at


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