Lecturers across University of East London (UEL) campuses walked out today, Thursday, in a dispute over workload and management bullying.
UCU union members picketed the Stratford and Docklands campuses, along with Duncan House—home to the head of human resources’ office.
At the Docklands campus, scores of students turned out to support their lecturers on the early morning picket line.
Pickets and their supporters leafleted students about the strike as they walked towards the campus, winning wide support.
“For management it’s all about costs, not education,” so says Anna Lopez, a UCU member in the sociology department.
“We’ve lost four members of staff from my department and there is no serious plan to replace them. Many of my colleagues are off sick with stress.
“This is at a time when students are paying £9,000 fees—it’s not fair on anyone. Some students must think we’re getting a better deal because of the fees they’re paying. But the opposite is true.”
Phil Marfleet, who also lectures at UEL, said, “A recent national survey by the union found that lecturers at UEL work the longest hours and have one of the highest numbers of students per member of staff.
“We want to make sure we are giving the best to our students, but management are making it nearly impossible. There is no financial crisis at UEL—it has extensive cash reserves and the vice chancellor just awarded himself a 9 percent pay rise.
“We’re taking a stand because we have had enough. It’s great to see so many students here today, we need their solidarity.”
Students have been doing mass leafleting on campus to encourage people to support the strike. Moses Milner, who has been part of organising the solidarity for the lecturers, described UEL management as “relentless” in their attacks.
He also pointed to the wider issues. “These attacks are taking place while the government is destroying our health service and the welfare state, alongside turning students into consumers,” he said.
“The TUC demonstration this coming Saturday, and the national student protest on 21 November, can bring all these issues together.”
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