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Workload and Staffing Cuts

 The sector has gone through a difficult time.  Management and the Board of Governors main strategy to deal with these difficulties appears to be to just keep shrinking the university from a staffing perspective whilst spending enormous amount of money on new buildings. Other competitor universities do not seem to have fared so badly. They have strategies that seem to have mitigated the problems that UEL is under. The problems regarding funding could be easily foreseen after the changes to funding were published some three years ago. Improving our position in the league tables and de-facto the student experience, something that UCU has repeatedly raised with management, has only been half-heartedly addressed with the serious consequences we see now with regards to student recruitment for 2013-14.  Now we are seeing modules being removed suddenly from the programmes and programmes are being closed in some Schools in a knee jerk reaction to the situation we find ourselves in and risking further damage to the student experience. This will all probably have happened without much in the way of consultation with the staff members concerned let alone the students. 

Yes really it has been an “annus horribilis” for UEL as the Times Higher highlighted last week.  Money has been lost, strategy is all over the place and the ‘Transformation for Excellence’ was just empty rhetoric as it has become what UCU predicted months ago, a Transformation for Decline.   Staff are fearful, overworked, stressed and faced with an overbearing workload that is both unrealistic and, quite frankly, unfair. We have all the responsibility and no power and opening emails these days is stress inducing as the latest ill-thought initiative hits us. There are only 7 days a week and 24 hours a day! These pressures are literally making it impossible for staff to continue working at UEL and many have left or are in the process of leaving or taking early retirement.  These staff are not replaced and the cycle of inadequate staffing levels and the lowering of morale continues.  There has to be a limit to what you can and will do – you cannot work your way out of this situation without risking your health.

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