Socialist Worker

Lecturers win after unofficial action

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2553

Workers protest as part of a week of action earlier this year

Workers protest as part of a week of action earlier this year (Pic: Fractionals for Fair Play)


A group of teaching staff at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas) have scored a significant victory after taking unofficial action.

The fractional lecturers, who are employed on a fraction of a full term contract, were fighting for better conditions.

More than 60 of them had refused to submit essay marks for the last six weeks – and they have now won their demands.

The fractionals in the UCU union had demanded to be paid for time spent marking.

Bosses have agreed to do this and to backdate the pay for the full year.

Workers will get 40 hours’ pay for every 100 essays marked.

There will be a cap on class sizes in tutorial groups to no more than 15, unless a higher figure is agreed by the worker.

Agreement

Bosses will also consider increasing the number of permanent roles, and they have made a research fund of £100,000 a year available to workers.

This is to enable lecturers to attend conferences and other activities.

The agreement promises that fractional staff who took part in the unofficial marking boycott will not be disciplined.

Fractional lecturers had won huge solidarity from permanent staff and students.

Around 90 percent of the academic staff had signed statements in support of their struggle.

They also pledged not to do the work of fractional staff.

Sandy Nicoll is branch secretary of the Unison union at Soas.

He told Socialist Worker, “I’m delighted that the fractionals have forced the school to see sense.

“This is a very significant victory.”


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