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Sussex UEG meet Sussex UCU's demands

Members agree to the University Executive Group's offer and vote to end the marking and assessment boycott.

The University of Sussex University Executive Group (UEG) have accepted University and College Union (UCU) Sussex’s demands on three issues (Four Fights, the USS pension, and local Size and Shape) which will immediately end the marking and assessment boycott under the current mandate. UCU HEC will be writing to UEG shortly to confirm this. The overview of UEG and UCU’s agreement is laid out below.

1. Four fights:

As a result of UCU’s negotiations with UEG over historic pay decline, the University will make a one-off non-consolidated, non-pensionable pro-rata payment that is progressive, with a focus on lower grades and including Doctoral Tutors. We have been told this is subject to tax and receive NI contributions.

· Grades 1-6 - £900

· Grade 7 - £700

· Grade 8 - £500

· Grade 9 - £400

· Grade 10 - £300

In addition, we will establish time-limited working groups with senior leadership and UCU representation to progress work on equalities, fixed term contracts, workload, post 6pm teaching, and living wages.

Doctoral tutors’ contracts

We are delighted to announce that we have secured a commitment to renegotiate the Doctoral and School Tutor contracts. We will work together to:

  • Negotiate baseline pay grade

  • Negotiate for redeployment options for DT’s at the end of fixed term contracts

  • Agree on an increase of contract lengths to cover the preparation work before term starts

  • Universalise paid training options

  • Agree sick-leave and bereavement-leave entitlement

  • Issue new contracts incorporating any agreed changes would be in operation by September 2023

2. Pensions

The University Executive Group (UEG) and Sussex University and College Union (UCU) acknowledges the erosion of trust and detriment of the recent cuts, and have reached agreement on 10 points including:

  • Encouraging UUK to engage with USS to explore benefit-enhancing solutions short of a full valuation which might take the form of a change to the schedule of contributions based on an intermediate valuation in advance of a formal valuation.

  • Recognising an urgent need for the national parties involved in the USS pension negotiations to rebuild trust through a transparent and evidence-based approach to communications.

  • Positive changes resulting from the next valuation of the scheme’s assets, liabilities and future service costs should preferably be used to improve member benefits and not to reduce employer or employee contribution rates from current levels.

  • Employers should continue to provide covenant support through the future valuation process and agree that this should be available to benefit proposals presented to the JNC by either UUK or UCU to ensure open and timely discussions.

As such, University of Sussex UEG and Sussex UCU agree to write jointly to UUK and UCU calling for these to be supported. You can read the 10 points on page 4 of the statement.

3. Size and Shape

Following more than six months of continuing negotiations between UCU and UEG a number of actions have been agreed, and we can now jointly announce the dispute has been resolved and there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the Size & Shape Programme. UCU wants to thank our members for their collective efforts in halting Size and Shape and preventing compulsory redundancies. UEG has now moved forward into implementing the changes with the intention that the Size and Shape Programme will formally conclude by August 2022.

Next steps

We’re pleased that as a result of agreements on these three issues, we can lift the Marking and Assessment boycott under the current UCU mandate (to 7 October 2022). We have been very clear with UEG that the national disputes remain live and that members are committed to bargaining nationally for improvements to our remuneration and working conditions.

We can also confirm that UEG will not deduct any pay from the period 23 May 2022 onwards as long as marking is completed within agreed and reasonable timeframes.

We have also agreed that our members will do their best to complete marking and assessment to allow students to progress and graduate within agreed and reasonable timeframes.


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