Lecturers at university in London Docklands to strike over workload

Lectures at a university in the Docklands have today announced they are taking strike action in a row over workload.

Members of the University and College Union will begin a programme of strike action from the start of next term at the University of East London, which has a campus at The Royal Albert Dock.

Staff will protest outside the university’s Stratford Campus next Wednesday (July 18 July), where they will be joined by UCU vice-president Simon Renton.

The dispute centres around changes to workload agreements allowing managers to set staff workloads without taking into account lecturers’ class sizes and marking loads, according to the union. The union has warned the move could compromise standards if staff are not given enough time to prepare for lessons, mark papers and provide individual student support.

Staff will also be stripped of their right of appeal to independent governors if they feel they have been bullied or given unfair workloads, according to the union.

UCU regional official, Greg Barnett, said: “It is deeply regrettable we have to escalate our dispute with the university. However, planned changes to terms and conditions remove vital protections for our members and will endanger standards as staff are denied the necessary time to mark students’ work.

“University managers talk a great deal about the need to improve the student experience but under the new arrangements it will be students, as well as our members, who suffer in the long run.”

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It is understood talks between the union and UEL stalled earlier this month.

UCU branch secretary at UEL, Jacqui Mitchell, said: “Nobody at UEL wants to take strike action and there is still time to reach a negotiated settlement. However, if the university refuses to address our concerns we will go ahead with this action in the autumn.”