Sussex students demand compensation over strike

Students at the University of Sussex have launched legal action over lost teaching time after a 14-day strike by university staff.

Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 10:29 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 6:24 am
University of Sussex (Photograph: N Chadwick/Creative Commons Licence) SUS-170117-154510001

More than 1,000 students from across the country have signed up to take collective court action against universities, including 32 from the University of Sussex.

Staff from 61 universities took action over pensions, which saw University and College Union (UCU) members take 14 strike days over four weeks during February and March.

A compensation website was set up by specialist law firm Asserson, to allow students to sign up for collective court action.

Some students supported the strikes at the University of Sussex (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

More than 1,000 students from Sussex, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Exeter have signed up, which means that the group claim has a sufficient number of students to apply for a Group Litigation Order.

Shimon Goldwater, a senior solicitor at Asserson, said: “No other service provider would get away with charging for 25 weeks of a service and cutting that to 22 with no price reduction. There is no question that universities owe students fair compensation.

“If the class action is accepted, universities would pay out millions of pounds. Over 20,000 undergraduates attend each large UK university. Paying approximately £500 compensation each to 20,000 students would cost £10 million.

“With the UCU estimating in March that strike action affected a million students, with the loss of 575,000 teaching hours that will not be rescheduled, we’re expecting a surge of sign ups over the coming weeks. This is already one of the largest student group legal actions ever to have been launched in the UK.”

A University of Sussex spokesperson said: “The University is actively looking at the effect of the strike and has already put in place some measures to make up for the missed classes. We are very sorry that some classes did not take place due to the industrial action, which is now finished. The University is revising assessments and examinations, to ensure that no student will be disadvantaged academically.”

To find out more about the compensation claim, click here.

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