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Anti Harrasment Campaign

Message from Mariam Irshad, UELSU, regarding an anti harrasment campaign

As you may be aware, I’ve been running an anti harassment campaign titled My Body Not Yours. It’s largely been targeted at students but I’d like open it up to staff a bit more. We have designed a survey to answer three aims:

1) Gather accurate testimonies of experiences at UEL.
2) Allow security to improve safety on campus, based on actual student and staff experiences at UEL.
3) Evaluate attitudes at UEL around harassment.


Stop cuts to funding for disabled and dyslexic students

David Willets, the Minister for Universities and Science, has announced the  “modernisation” of the government grant for students with disabilities, the Disabled  Students Allowances (DSA). The initial detail of this modernisation is a series of cuts in provision, placing the funding burden on Universities and individual students. We the undersigned believe that these cuts will:
Reduce access to higher education for students with disabilities and dyslexia Reduce successful outcomes with less support meaning lower degree classifications for students who require additional support Reduce the employment prospects for graduates with disabilities and dyslexia Increase the drop out/failure rate in universities amongst disabled and dyslexic students Lead to further inequality within society.
We therefore call on the government to withdraw this policy statement made by the minister, David Willetts.

Lambeth College action against new contracts

At a meeting earlier this week, UCU members a Lambeth College voted unanimously to take indefinite strike action from Thursday May 1st against new contracts which have been imposed. The new contracts affect new staff, current staff who are promoted or wish to change their fraction and will also affect current hourly-paid staff. In addition management documents state that the new contract of employment may be rolled out across the board for all existing staff. On Thursday 1st May, in addition to picket lines at the Brixton and Vauxhall Centres, there will be a Mass Picket at 7am outside the Clapham Centre, 45 Clapham Common Southside (Clapham Common tube station, Northern Line). Please support this if you can.

Additionally, there will be a solidarity strike rally at 6pm in the evening, to which all UCU members, friends and family are welcome, at the Karibu Centre, Gresham Road, Brixton, called by Lambeth College UCU, Lambeth College Unison and London Region UCU. Please send messages of support to Lambeth College branch secretary, Mandy:

Pay Dispute

Please ensure that you vote in the ballot over the pay dispute. An email will have been sent to you by Sally Hunt the general secretary of UCU and this email contains your unique voting id. You will also need your UCU membership number to vote. The video clip  demonstrates that students support the action being taken (more…)

Living Wage Campaign

Please take a minute to sign the Reading students’ petition urging the University to pay its workers (cleaners, caterers, front of house and casual staff) the living wage. For more information and in order to sign the petition follow the link:


UEL – an alternative plan for recovery 19/03/2014 1pm EBG06

UEL – an alternative plan for recovery

open meeting for all staff

Introduced by Prof Michael Rustin


Wednesday March 19, 1pm

Room EBG.06


Meet the new breed of fat cat: the university vice-chancellor

The Guardian reports on VC’s pay. See for details

Alternative plan for UEL – 19th March 1.00-2.30pm Docklands EB.G.06

Tthe details of an alternative plan for UEL (see  for details) have received a number of comments on the plan and would now like to start a debate about an alternative vision of UEL. They are calling an open meeting to dicuss the alternative plan on Wednesday 19th March in Docklands between 1.00-2.30pm at Docklands in EB.G.06 . It would be useful if as many people as possible could attend so that the document could be amended in light of the opinions of all staff at UEL.

Alternative Vision for UEL

A group of people have got together and written an alternative view of how UEL should develop. This is an interesting paper  UEL – an alternative plan and I would encourage you to read it. Should you have points that you wish UCU to take on board then please leave a comment to this post.


UCU branch secretary


Monday’s 10th February – Now a full day strike

Sally Hunt wrote to us earlier today about the next round of action regarding our pay dispute. She also pointed out that the minority Universities who have punitively decided to take a full day’s pay instead of the two hours have all had their strike extended to a full day. These minority institutions are: Aberdeen, Bradford, East London, West of Scotland, Greenwich, Staffordshire, the Leeds College of Art, Manchester Met, Nottingham Trent, Robert Gordon and Queen Mary UL.  (more…)

Pay Dispute Rally 2pm Thursday 6th Feb

UCU London Region is holding a rally at 2pm tomorrow at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. There will be speakers from UNISON, Unite and UCU. Link for map below (more…)

Strike Action Thursday 6th February

At the end of this post is the text of a letter that we suggest that you distribute to your students so that they understand why we are taking industrial action on Thursday 6th February. We have now had sufficient pledges of support to be able to extend the picket at Docklands to cover the afternoon period in addition to the morning period. This strike is a joint action with UNISON and UNITE and is in support of the pay claim.  It is very important that we show our collective unity on the picket line, not only because of the pay issue, but also over the very real threat of compulsory redundancies at UEL . Please make sure that you come to the picket line. (more…)

Petition in support of University of Birmingham students

A number of students at the University of Birmingham have been suspended following a peaceful occupation of a University of Birmingham building during a protest to defend education. Please follow the link for further details and to sign the petition

UCU branch meeting 1.15pm-3pm Wednesday 5th February (Docklands) EB.G.06 .

Please attend the the UCU branch meeting so that your wishes are reflected in the discussions and decisions of the branch as a whole. The agenda items are Pay Dispute; Academic compulsory redundancies; Restructuring of administrative functions and possible redundancies; Voluntary Severance scheme; Student attendance policy

Branch Meeting Wednesday 5th Feb

There is a UEL UCU branch meeting scheduled for this wednesday at 1.15-3pm at Docklands campus in room EB.G.06. The agenda items so far are Pay Dispute; Academic compulsory redundancies; and  Services restructuring. If you have any other items for the agenda then please email me at by 5pm Monday 3rd Feb (more…)

Pay Dispute Thursday

UCU logo By now you will have seen the aggressive email from UEL management who are threatening to deduct a whole days pay from anyone participating in the two hour strike on Thursday between 11-1pm.  Sally Hunt, the UCU general secretary, has also sent round an email advising members how to respond to employers who take this stance click here to see email from Sally Hunt.  We urge you to reply to Alison McGrand, Director of HR with the text specified by Sally Hunt (click to download the text for the Suggested response to Director of HR).

We have organised a UCU meeting for members at 11.30am to discuss the current position of management. The meeting will be at Docklands and will start at 11.30am in EB.G.06 to allow members from Stratford to attend. 


Pay deductions at the University of East London

From Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary

Dear colleague,

I have today had sight of the message sent to academic staff at the University of East London regarding the dispute.

While its intention is clearly to intimidate, most members who have contacted me have been angry. What kind of an institution responds to a legal strike by locking staff out for the day, especially when they know that this will increase disruption for students?

I want to be quite clear with you about two things. 

Firstly, UCU’s legal advice is that a two hour strike should lead to the deduction of two hours pay – no more or less. Our clearly defined strike does not constitute partial performance as suggested by the message from the university and nor is it action short of a strike; it is in fact a complete withdrawal of labour for the duration of a legally convened strike.

However, the University of East London have decided to treat that two hour stoppage as partial performance. We believe that is a wholly unreasonable and disproportionate response which does more harm to the students than our lawful strike action intends.

It can never be a reasonable response by a university to add to the regrettable disruption that students experience as a result of a legitimate trade dispute. On the contrary, a reasonable response would be to seek to minimise the disruption.

If the University of East London goes through with its threat we will therefore immediately challenge their action through the courts. This process will, of course, be deeply embarrassing for the institution as will the publicity around their baffling willingness to increase disruption for students as a way of intimidating staff, but so be it.

Secondly, I want to say that the University of East London, should it deduct a whole day’s pay for a two hour strike, will face escalated industrial action from UCU. Where necessary we will use our strike fund to support members who participate in order to maximise the impact. We will also begin a national publicity campaign aimed at making sure that students and staff around the country know how the University of East London treats both its staff and those they teach.

I know from my postbag that members are angry with management. Please channel your anger into making our industrial action a success. Their hard line, aggressive action is designed to frighten us into not exercising the democratic right to strike. We cannot allow them to win. 

The union’s advice is therefore that you follow the instructions of the union on strike days and work normally except for the period of the two hour strikes.

You are further advised to respond using the text below.

The union stands behind you in our campaign for fair pay.

Thank you for your support.

Sally Hunt
UCU General Secretary


Suggested response

Dear x,

Thank you for your letter of x/x. As you will know, there is no legal requirement upon me to let you know whether I am a union member or whether I intend to participate in a strike. However, such is my strength of feeling about your recent letter of [date] informing me that you will deduct a whole day’s pay for a two hour stoppage of work, I feel compelled to put my position clearly to you.

If I completely withdraw my labour during the two hour strike called for Thursday, 23rd January between 11am and 1pm and subsequent two hour strikes called by the union, I will be performing my full range of duties on the days in question during all of the hours for which I am not called upon to be on strike. Further, the work that I will do during the hours I work on the days will be in full, and not partial performance of my duties.

My attendance at work in fulfillment of my duties on the strike days, as set out above, will clearly minimise disruption to my students. It stands in stark contrast to your policy which can only lead to increased disruption on the strike days called, which would be neither reasonable nor proportionate.

Finally, I am advised to tell you that should you nonetheless deduct a full days pay for any two hour strike that I may participate in, my union will seek to recover this money legally as well as escalate the dispute in this institution.

I hope that on reflection, you will reconsider your current policy which is unfair, confrontational and risks further damage to our students.



Pay Dispute Strike Thursday 23rd January 2014 11-1

UCU has called a number of two hour strikes over the pay dispute:

  • Thursday 23 January 11am-1pm
  • Tuesday 28 January 2pm-4pm
  • Monday 10 February, 9am-11am

The first of these 2 hour strikes is set for this Thursday and we have organised a UCU meeting for members at 11.30am. The meeting will be at Docklands and will start at 11.30am to allow members from Stratford to attend.

Advice for UCU on Frequently Asked Questions on the two hour strikes is given below (more…)

UEL settlement for former leaders apparently totals £589,000

The University of East London has apparently paid a total of £589,000 in settlement to three senior managers, including its former vice-chancellor, who resigned before news emerged that two overseas ventures had collapsed. Click on the link to see the  TIMES HIGHER article

Memorial for Dr Abiola Ogunsola 2pm 8th February

 The memorial event in memory and celebration of the life of Dr Abiola Ogunsola will be held on Saturday 8th February 2014, 2-4pm at Cass School of Education and Communities Stratford Campus, UEL, Water Lane, Stratford, London, E15 4LZ. If you wish to attend then please RSVP to Laura Scott, PA to the Dean: 0208 223 2578