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From: The Socialist issue 1112, 2 December 2020: Better for billionaires, Worse for workers

Search site for keywords: UCU - Strike - Solidarity - Pay - Covid - Brighton - University - Students - Education - Universities

Solidarity with Brighton UCU strike - we won't pay for Covid crisis

Brighton UCU pickett line Photo: Glenn Kelly

Brighton UCU pickett line Photo: Glenn Kelly   (Click to enlarge)

Phoebe Rimmer, Brighton University Socialist Students

Brighton University's decision to make a third of its IT department redundant during a time when it is so desperately needed, is emblematic of a greater problem - turning universities into businesses.

It is a clear attempt at cutting costs at the expense of providing quality education. Where lectures have moved online in light of the pandemic, the IT team is crucial in ensuring that this can be achieved to as high of a standard as possible, given the circumstances.

How can we expect competent levels of teaching, and communication and resources to be available, without the work of the IT staff who supplement them?

Online teaching is massively important at this time, as it protects our vulnerable students and staff.

We cannot afford to go back to face-to-face teaching when the university cannot provide a safe environment, such as social distancing measures and proper hygiene procedures.

We have seen how universities are a hotspot for the virus, so can we really afford to open up Brighton campuses to risk it all? Are the lives of students and staff worth less than the profits made?

Ultimately we must put an end to the marketisation of education. Under this system, universities will forever be competing with one another like private businesses.

We stand with the University and College Union and their decision to strike on 2 December, and we call on Brighton Students' Union to do so too.

The redundancies will affect our education, our future, and we must unite against Brighton University's financially driven decisions.

University staff are essential in our education, students are not customers, and access to free education is a right.

Staff and students alike should not be exploited to uphold a broken system. Not now, not ever.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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Article dated 2 December 2020

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