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The future of campus services - a joint statement from University of Sussex trade unions

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

This statement is in response to the Vice-Chancellor’s announcement that the current campus contracts for catering and facilities management will expire in August and December 2023, and sets out the position of Unison, Unite and UCU - the three trade unions representing staff on the University of Sussex campus.

We welcome this golden opportunity to end the atomisation of the campus community which currently exists at Sussex. We believe that this experiment with outsourcing has undermined the ability of the institution to provide a quality student and staff experience and fundamentally opposes elements of the Sussex 2025 strategy. In this document it is stated that for example:

Estate - A high-quality estate will attract students and staff to Sussex.”

As many campus colleagues currently face using buildings, offices and accommodation with a range of significant issues ranging from serious water damage, windows that don’t close, trip hazards, and accessible access it becomes evident that outsourcing has failed to deliver the strategic objective of providing a high-quality estate.

We further note that outsourcing has resulted in a group of staff that contain marginalised individuals, who as outsourced employees are on inferior terms and conditions to in-house colleagues, which opposes other strategic claims to be a kind and inclusive employer.

We advise the university to recognise these failures and that the only way that these issues can be resolved is to end outsourcing at the University. Our position is therefore that when these contracts expire the University explore and publish a commitment to:

1. The cost to the institution of outsourcing over the past 10 years being made available to all campus unions.

2. Bringing the catering and facilities services back in house.

3. Allowing a range of small and entrepreneurial local business and start-ups to have the opportunity to contribute to campus rather than companies such as Starbucks.

4. Offering all affected employees University of Sussex contracts.

We therefore call on the University to commit to this approach in principle, and to immediately commence negotiations with the recognised unions over the details of implementation. University of Sussex Unison University of Sussex Unite University of Sussex UCU

University of Sussex Unison

University of Sussex Unite

University of Sussex UCU


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