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University of East London staff strike against redundancies

22 February 2021

Staff at the University of East London (UEL) are on strike after UEL management pressed ahead with redundancy plans.

UCU members are taking strike action in response to the sacking of four staff, and in protest at unmanageable workloads resulting from 82 job cuts that took place last year. Following UEL management's refusal to engage in ACAS-facilitated talks, an overwhelming 92% of UCU members at UEL voted for industrial action, on a turnout (63%) easily surpassing the threshold.  

UCU said the four compulsory redundancies are especially shameful as they disproportionately impact women, black and minority ethnic staff, and union activists.

UCU said strike action would continue next month unless university management changes course, cancels the redundancies and engages in meaningful talks. Staff are holding digital teach-outs and a strike rally, as Covid has made it difficult to have physical picket lines.

UCU regional support official Amanda Sackur said: 'UEL's determination to sack four members of staff is inexcusable and our members have voted overwhelmingly to strike in defence of jobs. There will be further industrial action next month if university managers refuse to change course. After the loss of 82 jobs last year, making yet more cuts will worsen already untenable staff workloads. Our members have been overworked throughout the pandemic, and are now being rewarded with threats to their livelihoods.

'UEL's drive to cut jobs is all the more shameful as these redundancies appear to be targeted. They disproportionately impact women, black and minority ethnic staff, and UCU activists. These  cuts are vindictive and completely unnecessary, especially given student intake is expected to increase again this year. UEL must halt these redundancies, seriously engage with us to find a way forward, and make workloads manageable. Otherwise, industrial action will continue and the university's reputation will worsen.'

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