Full statement and demands from the Bramber House occupiers, 27 Nov 2013

Image

photo credit: Stefan Filby

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01.24 27 NOV 2013

Email: sussexagainstprivatisation@gmail.com

Twitter: occupy_sussex

Facebook: Occupy Sussex (Page) – Stop the Privatization of Sussex Services (Group)

This evening, Sussex students have reoccupied the Bramber House Conference Centre to protest and fight against the privatisation of services on our campus, and the marketisation of higher education. Privatisation and marketisation have been forced upon students and staff due to the ideological government policy of austerity which is intentionally underfunding higher education.

This occupation is part of ongoing actions at the University of Sussex by students and staff in protest.

Our fight against privatisation has been going on since May 2012. At the University of Sussex, catering services on campus have been privatised to Chartwells’, and management intend to privatise estates and facilities services with Interserve in January 2014. These people are essential staff to the university, as estates and facilities includes security, maintenance, cleaners and porters.

Since catering was privatised, we have seen all new staff employed on worse working conditions than the transferred Sussex staff. They have had sick pay and holiday pay removed and they have to work 48 hours to get overtime pay, compared to 36.5 hours for transferred staff. Not only that, new staff are mainly on zero-hour contracts, a blatant assault on the job security that Sussex University staff enjoy. We condemn the creation of a two-tiered workforce by Chartwells, and we support all staff that wish to fight these injustices against lowest paid workers.

The actions of Chartwells against staff are characteristic of a profit driven enterprise and we expect the same to come from Interserve. We note that the current restructuring of higher education under austerity is encouraging the profit motive to dominate the management of universities.

We are opposed to the marketisation of higher education, as we believe universities should be run in the interest of staff and students. These trends can further be seen in yesterday’s announcement of the sale of the student loan book for those taken out before 1998, with plans in the making to privatise the rest.

This occupation is in solidarity with the ongoing strike action taking place across the Higher and Further Education sectors. The next strike day is taking place on Tuesday 3rd December, which UCU, Unite and Unison have called nationwide in protest against pay cuts, gendered pay inequality and commodification in our public institutions. Manageralism and the current government continue to threaten and attack the public university, promoting the worrying concept of the student as a consumer.

We have chosen to occupy this space, as it is a space operated by Chartwells which provides a significant income stream for them . This space was once run by the university, and today we have liberated this Conference Centre for the wider campus community.

All attempts to engage in meaningful dialogue over this issue have been rejected or pacified; reducing the income for these entities is a last resort to make them listen. This comes only months after the last occupation of this space, which saw the entire campus community reclaim an area closed off to us.

We stand in solidarity with students currently occupying in Birmingham, and those fighting these issues nationwide. Furthermore, we call on students everywhere to fight back against these issues at their own universities and on a national level.

Chartwells operate this space because we allow them to, and today we’ve revoked that licence. We want to use this conference centre as an educational space for the community and welcome all students and staff to join us in the fight against austerity in higher education.

We remain open and interested in dialogue with the university and we would like to meet with management to address our demands without preconditions.

THE OCCUPATION DEMANDS THE FOLLOWING OF SUSSEX UNIVERSITY MANAGEMENT:

 

1. To bring privatised Chartwells catering and conferencing services back in-house and to revoke the impending contract with Interserve which intends to privatize estates and facilities management in January 2014.

2.  A restructuring of democratic procedures of the university, led by students, staff and lecturers with the purpose of re-evaluating channels for holding management accountable, as well as reviewing and extending student and workers’ say in decision making processes.

3. An end to the intimidation that senior and middle management have used to deter students and workers from airing and acting on their concerns.

4. To publicly address the issues of the strike on the 3rd of December, including a written statement calling on the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) to meet the demands of the trade unions in question.

5. To issue a public statement demanding more funding for higher education institutions from the government in order to abolish tuition fees and ensure high quality education accessible to all. 

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Workers and students at the University of Sussex who are opposed to the plan to privatize 235 jobs.
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38 Responses to Full statement and demands from the Bramber House occupiers, 27 Nov 2013

  1. phantomgramsci says:

    well that was mundane

  2. Zet says:

    Because of these lot security closed the only shop on campus, fuck you

    • Anonymous says:

      Dude, have you ever heard of the Union Shop? That’s on campus too, as the signage on Bramber House doors let people know.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good point. To hell with higher education and worker’s rights. Let’s go shopping. I’m sure you thought through that one well.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Twats

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well said and keep up the good work! :)

  5. Dominic Guzman says:

    You scumbags are the worst kind of utter hypocrites. You bleat about “democracy” but then 60 of you presume to represent 13000 students without asking anyone’s permission to do so. You act as if the University is your own personal property, intimidating staff and students who happen to have opinions different from yours. You have no right to make any demands. You are the parasites who should be off campus. You should all have been thrown out of the University when you went on a violent rampage in March, but the University was too lenient. Since then your pathetic delusional rabble has been greeted with derision whenever you’ve tried to disrupt campus activities. Now, like the spoiled brats you are, you’ve thrown another tantrum because you weren’t getting enough attention.

  6. Gominic Duzman says:

    You reactionary scumbags are the worst kind of utter hypocrites. You bleat about “democracy” but then you do literally nothing to defend it when it is under threat from ruling-class assault, then you presume to represent the opinions of the ‘silent majority’ without asking anyone’s permission to do so. You act as if the University is a factory in which students and staff must passively accept despicable labour contracts and the commodification of education, intimidating activist groups who happen to have opinions different from yours. You have no right to make any of your retarded reactionary opinions known. You are the parasite who should be off campus. You should have been thrown out of the University when you did nothing to defend education in March, but the University was too lenient. Since then your pathetic delusional populist shite has been greeted with derision whenever you’ve opened your dumbass mouth. Now, like the spoiled brat you are, you’ve thrown another tantrum online because you weren’t getting enough attention.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dominic – as a member of staff who has worked at the university for over 5 years, I can confidently say that I have never met another member of staff who has felt ‘intimidated’ by the students in the Occupy movement. Most of us are full of admiration.

    • The silent majority says:

      You’ve obviously not met or talked to that many staff then have you…..?

    • ignorancefromOccupiers says:

      Most conference centre staff had uni paid for counselling sessions, due to stress, anxiety and feeling intimidating.
      Including after the occupation had ended.

      Most have since taken voluntary redundancy as they feel they cannot work there anymore, even though their jobs were secure.

  8. Dominic Guzman says:

    Sheesh – you can’t even do a decent parody! Is there no beginning to your talents?

    By rhe way have you been ransacking offices and nicking stuff like you did when you broke into Sussex House? Or are you limiting yourselves to criminal damage this time?

  9. John says:

    Congratulations to the occupation. You are fighting for the true spirit of the university.

  10. James says:

    God, fuck off

  11. James McCarth says:

    I concur, with the last Post, Dominic You are a TROLL and really need to get your head out of pants and stop behaving like a fool. Solidarity to Occupiers and good Luck, the People are with you. I used to work for Sussex and I say go for it.

  12. Jane Kelly says:

    Solidarity to the Sussex students and for all on strike in the universtiy sector on December 3.A
    As a retired university lecturer I support and admire your actions against the privatisation of education.

  13. Tim Webster says:

    Well done everyone, ignore some of these ignorant comments. I was a student at Sussex last year and it is clear to anyone who has their eyes open what the privatization of services on campus does. I think you are absolutely right to protest and I wish that more people felt as passionately as you do, but more importantly feel it necessary to do something about it. Don’t give up and inspire others to listen and take on these concerns, which have far reaching implications.

  14. Anonymous says:

    solidarity from a precariously employed sussex graduate who knows these monolithic private companies all too well.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Dominic you’re a mug…

  16. Anonymous says:

    Dominic what dickhead get a life. Total solidarity from a real member of staff

  17. The silent majority says:

    Just grow up all of you

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  19. Pat G says:

    Solidarity from Birmingham

  20. Carlisle says:

    Solidarity! Congratulations for fighting the callous, profit-driven privatisation of services, facilities, and student loans! Cheers from Durham, we’ll be going out on the streets on the 3rd of December and have been putting up posters against the privatisation of student loans across town.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Solidarity from Manchester!

  22. Destinee44 says:

    Perfect article. Congratulations.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Solidarity from UoB!

  24. Anonymous says:

    It’s a worthy cause, education should be outside the bounds of commerce, and it’s a huge shame that ability to generate revenue is the only way success is measured. That said, having first-hand experience, I can’t help but feel some of the protesters are just along for the ride: enjoying being radical during their university days or taking the opportunity to be part of a group/movement and show some force, learning the rhetoric but never questioning it. I hope I’m wrong. Either way, at least someone’s protesting: if everyone sits back and takes this kind of thing, the privatization of everything on every inch of the planet will progress even faster than it is already.

  25. Dominic Guzman says:

    Solidarity to the staff and postgraduate students you assaulted on your way into the Bramber House conference suite. You are nothing but violent criminals. Glad to see the BBC website showing your picture; should make it easier to round you all up afterwards.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Reading the comments, i used to also be quite against the protesters and disruption. However having been at Sussex since 2008, and have been employed by both Sussex Uni and Chartwells there are clearly things going downhill in a big way with this systematic sell off of all services. Really don’t want to see sports facilities go the way of food services, cos things are much worse than they were. Good job that some people are committed enough to be doing something rather than just moaning about it. Great work occupiers, good luck.

  27. ignorancefromOccupiers says:

    You guys are so not clued up about this situation it’s laughable!!!

    As part of the agreement, apart from staffing and overheads all of the profits Chartwells make are given back to the uni.
    By making the conference centre cancel bookings you’re loosing the uni money.

    You also say this is a peaceful protest, so then why do you wear items to cover your identity?
    Intimidation of staff is also not very peaceful.

    You say you’re against commercialisation but manage to have Apple products and drink from Starbucks.

    You’re a joke and not a funny one either

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