Tag Archives: Brighton and Hove News

“Government is redefining the very idea of what a university is” – Tom Hickey

Mr Hickey who teaches critical theory, culture and politics at the University of Brighton criticised the white paper currently before Parliament. He said it aims to: “significantly transform and partially dissolve universities by opening them up to private sector companies.”

Mr Hickey was speaking to staff from the Universities of Brighton and Sussex who gathered at the Old Ship Hotel on Wednesday 25 June for the first of a two day strike.

Until 27 May 2016 029

He argues that this would result in a two-tier education system where students from rich universities can choose their university but poorer students would end up with cheaper, “bucket shop degrees from universities at the very bottom of the system.”

Mr Hickey condemned the “disaggregation and destruction of national common education available to everyone.” He will publish an alternative white paper next week.

Law Lecturer Tom Frost from the University of Sussex did a quick key word search of the white paper and found the words “competition” and “markets” mentioned 50 times each while “lecturer” and “academic freedom” were only mentioned once each.

Members of UCU, the University and College Union were striking about changes to their terms and conditions including a pay rise of 1.1% compared with 6.1% pay rise awarded to vice chancellors.

Some university staff are on zero hours contracts which Mr Frost says is unacceptable given the £1.8 billion of reserves. The union is campaigning for secure, permanent jobs and an end to casual employment. Research by UCU estimates that 48.7% of staff across the UK higher education sector are employed on some form of casual contract.

Until 27 May 2016 030

A university spokesperson said: “The University of Brighton is bound by national agreements and cannot negotiate or settle pay claims outside of this arrangement. The unions locally and the University of Brighton agreed to be part of national pay negotiations.

Pay bargaining for UK universities is conducted by the UCEA nationally and has to take into account the financial circumstances of each of the 150 universities.”

However, protestors are also campaigning to close the 12.6% pay gap between men and women by 2020 which is the 50 year anniversary of the Equal Pay Act.

Lizzie Seal who lectures in sociology and criminology at the University of Sussex said under a quarter of professors in universities are women. This led her to conclude: “Either men are better than women or women are facing structural discrimination.”

A spokesperson from the University of Sussex said: “The University of Sussex strongly supports and is committed to equal pay for its staff.

“Two equal pay reviews in 2007 and 2011 established that the University is compliant with the Equality Act 2010 (formerly the Equal Pay Act 1970) and there was no systematic pattern of pay gaps in favour of one gender.  The University has committed to a further review in 2016 which will also be externally run.”

Until 27 May 2016 026

Brighton MP Caroline Lucas said in support of the strike: “Students and higher education are under attack on too many fronts and the need to stand up and take action on education remains as strong as ever: not least because this month’s White Paper establishes that the Tories’ drive to commercialise and marketise education is as strong as ever…

“That is, the White Paper approaches education as an opportunity for profit. And education should not be about profit any more than it should be treated as a game – as you all know it’s about much more than that. It’s about a future for students and jobs and innovation, of course but within a solid future for the UK’s skills base and for the quality of citizenship.

“Education is about world-class teaching and research that can keep such a status only if staff and students are given the much-needed “academic freedom” that’s needed as a bedrock, rather than ultimatums around maximizing profit.

“And, of course, there’s a more practical aspect if there’s to be a real future for higher education, and that’s the need for fair pay, and for employers to take meaningful action to end casualization and the gender pay gap.

“This is badly needed so that university staff can afford to continue their excellent work, and so that students can realistically consider roles in higher education and academia as a future career.

So, for a viable future and for a fairer today, I’ll continue to stand alongside you.”

Natalia Cecire, University of Sussex lecturer in English and American Studies said staff need to communicate clearly with students. “Our labour conditions are their future labour conditions.”

Brighton and Hove Buses did not stop at the Universities on Wednesday morning in solidarity with academics on strike.

Students studying moving image and photography are holding a show from Saturday 4 June to Sunday 12 June at the University of Brighton site on Edward Street.

An edited version of this article was published by Brighton and Hove News here.

Float Spa Wins Best of Brighton Star Business Award 2016

By Roz Scott

The Float Spa won the Best of Brighton “Star Business Awards” because it is a leading centre for health and wellbeing.

The spa has state of the art flotation pods, complementary therapies, yoga and meditation classes. It is based on Third Avenue in central Hove between Church Road and Hove Lawns and the seafront.

Camille Pierson, managing director of the spa, said: “At the Float Spa we pride ourselves on good customer service, and being part of the Best of Brighton awards has enabled us to gain valuable feedback from our treasured clients.

“Coming first in the Brighton and Hove area within our first year of business is a huge achievement for us. It was great to be part of the competition. Bring on next year!”

The Float Spa supplies everything needed for the flotation visit, including complementary towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and earplugs, as well as a vanity room equipped with hairdryers.

Customers enjoy a free home-made sorbet and herbal tea in the relaxation area to refresh and rejuvenate afterwards. The flotation experience lasts 90 minutes.

The Fairy Tale Fair was voted second in the Best of Brighton awards. It is run by Claire Montgomery. She said: “As a Best of Brighton and Hove member we were excited to take part in the business awards.

“Gaining stallholder and customer reviews is an important part of our business as our fair relies on a good reputation to get customers through the door and new stallholders taking part.

“We’re amazed so many of our fans took the time to vote for us and leave their wonderful reviews. To come second out of all the businesses in Brighton and Hove and first in the UK for markets and events is a huge achievement for our local fair and hopefully will help us to build on our achievements during 2016.”

The Fairy Tale Fair was voted the third best community event in Sussex 2015 in the Argus Community Star Awards and the fairs have gained “recommended by parents” status on Kallikids Sussex since summer 2015.

The next Fairy Tale Fair will be an Easter fair held at Patcham Methodist Church on Saturday 5 March and the Patcham Easter gift guide 2016 is available online.

There are quality crafts designed and produced in Brighton and Hove in abundance. Face painting, charity raffles and a tearoom with homemade cakes provide a fun, family-friendly day out.

In third place BBZ Brighton in Air Street, Brighton, is a fitness shop selling training equipment including for yoga, gyms and martial arts, clothing, accessories and dietary supplements. They also offer friendly, expert advice about dieting and workouts.

The Float Spa was voted best star business by Best of Brighton customers with 157 verified votes, followed by the Fairy Tale Fair with 83 votes and BBZ Fitness shop was highly commended in third place securing 42 verified votes from customers.

The customer votes or reviews for the Best of Brighton Business Awards 2016 were counted from 1 March 2015 and businesses needed at least 12 verified reviews to qualify by the last day of December 2015.

The campaign kicked off in earnest at the beginning of January this year. Businesses competed to collect as many additional reviews as possible in a month until Sunday (31 January) when the votes were counted.

You can read the same article first published on Brighton and Hove News website here.