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Strike at University of East London in workload row

16 October 2012

Members of UCU at the University of East London (UEL) will take industrial action on Thursday (18 October) in a row over plans to increase staff workloads.

The university's proposed new workload policy would herald more teaching, marking and assessment for UEL lecturers who have already topped a long-hours league table: in a recent UCU survey, 53.7% of full-time respondents at UEL reported working over 50 hours a week.* The recommended legal limit for weekly working hours is 48 hours. The university also has one of the highest students to staff ratios in Britain: at the last count in 2010/11, it was 23.7:1.
The union has branded UEL's proposed policy 'untenable and unjust' highlighting it lacks transparency and would leave employees at the mercy of individual managers.
The first strike day could be followed by two further days on Tuesday 23 October and Monday 29 October, should no agreement be reached before then.
UCU regional official, Greg Barnett, said: 'These lecturers are already working some of the longest hours in British universities and further increasing their workloads will lead to higher levels of stress and sickness, damaging the quality of education for students. This untenable and unjust policy legitimises a dangerous long-hours culture, and gives the green light to differential treatment of lecturers depending on whereabouts in the university they work.
'We have tried our utmost to find a way through this that is acceptable to everyone and have made considerable concessions along the way. Strike action is a last resort and we'll continue to seek agreement up to the eleventh hour.'
UEL's Student Council has voted to support UCU action at the university.


*Survey reveals hidden high stress levels and long-hours culture at universities
Picket lines will take place at UEL Docklands and Stratford campuses from 7.45am on Thursday 18 October.
Docklands Campus, 4-6 University Way, London E16 2RD
Stratford Campus, Water Lane, London E15 4LZ

Last updated: 11 December 2015