Sussex

University of Sussex strike off following talks

Unversity of Sussex picket line
Image caption University staff held a one-day strike in March over the proposed job cuts

A strike planned by academic staff and administrators at the University of Sussex has been suspended after talks to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Union officials said a series of discussions with the university has led to "significant progress".

A strike planned for Friday will now not take place but the union said action could be reinstated on Monday.

The university said it had received a large number of applications for early retirement or voluntary severance.

More than 550 members of the University and College Union (UCU) held a one-day strike in March over a proposal to cut 115 jobs and create 20 new posts.

Students staged a sit-in at the university's biggest lecture hall in protest at the cuts.

UCU spokesman Michael Moran said the union was pleased with the progress made in talks on Wednesday.

"We have suspended our planned industrial action to allow further talks to take place with the aim of getting a negotiated settlement," he said.

"No-one here is in the mood for celebration.

"There will still be sizeable cuts to the workforce which will inevitably impact on the student experience."

The university wants the job cuts to help reduce its costs by £5m a year and avoid a budget deficit over the next two to three years.

It said in a statement it believed now it should be able to avoid compulsory redundancies.

"We made clear from the start that we wanted to achieve these changes by voluntary means wherever possible," said deputy vice-chancellor Paul Layzell.

"We are grateful for the professional manner in which colleagues have engaged in discussions."

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