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Over forty protesters are occupying new East Slope construction site

“We will be halting construction for as long as it takes to force management to meet our demands. No capitulation!”

With the National Demo this afternoon, forty students have secured and occupied a building in the New East Slope construction site.

The occupation is in solidarity of the ongoing strikes and in protest of the proposed prices of the new accommodation, set to be the most expensive on campus.

Adam Tickell comments on the occupation:

According to a Facebook post by Sussex Supports the Strikes, Sussex VC Adam Tickell has responded to the story of the occupation of the construction site building. An email sent from [email protected] which is, according to the university website, Tickell's email merely stated "Unfortunately, it looks as if they'll be there a long time".

Protesters occupy construction site building

A statement was released on Sussex Supports the Strike's Facebook page at 7am; "We are occupying in solidarity with academic staff who are on strike over pension scheme changes and demand that Adam Tickell, Sussex Vice Chancellor, use his position as lead negotiator of Universities UK to meet the demands of striking staff.

"We are also demanding that University of Sussex halt the process of social cleansing on campus and maintain the previous rent of the occupied site at £88.56pw, instead of raising it to £156.55.

One of the occupiers spoke to The Tab Sussex, telling us "The police haven't been involved" because they think "the university would look bad if they called police." The construction workers "are currently putting up a fence around the building" and the occupiers have spoken to campus staff.

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It is unsure whether the group consists of Sussex students, or external protesters who would be attending the national demo. The occupiers explained how they got into the construction site; "we just jumped the fence. We were pretty paranoid for a while that we'd been spotted. No one knew we were there." They entered the site at "around 2am."

The Tab Sussex is told that the costs of the occupation could reach five figures very quickly, and this delay to construction could be very damaging to the contract between Balfour Beatty and the university which relies on meeting deadlines.

The group are also demanding that "Balfour Beatty, the construction company at work on the site, stop blacklisting trade union reps, and allow the trade union UNITE unhindered and unsupervised access to the construction site in order to allow workers to exercise their rights and unionise."

"We will be halting construction for as long as it takes to force management to meet our demands. No capitulation!"

A University of Sussex spokesperson said: “Balfour Beatty are the construction company responsible for building the development. We are in constant contact with Balfour Beatty, who are taking all of the appropriate measures to ensure the safety of the students and their own staff. The students have unlawfully entered the site.”