UCU, UNISON and Unite members at Sussex University say staff have been kept in the dark over transfer to private contracts

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Unions at the University of Sussex have accused senior management of trying to keep staff in the dark over plans to privatise the university’s support services.

The university is refusing to disclose the names of the companies it is speaking to about running its catering, estates and facilities and management departments, despite the fact that 235 staff (more than 10% of the workforce) will be transferred onto private contracts.

The unions described the current bidding process as ‘poorly considered and secretive’ and called on the university to come clean about its discussions and start consulting properly with staff.

In May members of UCU, UNISON and Unite, supported by students, held a series of protests against the proposed outsourcing which many fear will lead to a two-tier workforce as staff are employed on different terms and conditions.

Rob French, branch chair at Sussex UCU, said: “Sussex must come clean over who it is talking to about running these services. There is no justification for keeping staff and students in the dark, especially when these plans mean that one in ten of the workforce would have a new employer.

“This entire process has poorly considered and secretive from the outset. The university seems intent on steamrollering these plans through without any proper consultation or thought about the risks outsourcing poses. As the recent Olympics security debacle proved, private firms have a very chequered history when it comes to delivering services efficiently.

“The university should think carefully before allowing hundreds of staff to be employed on different terms and conditions. This is the not the way to reward loyal staff who have years of expertise in helping to support the needs of students.”


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