Stop Drastic Staff Redundancies at the University of East London

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The University of East London has proposed severe staffing cuts across the entire university that will include academics, technical team staff and professional service staff. There are currently 367 members of staff with job uncertainty.

The university has been in financial difficulty for many years, but the leadership are opportunistically attempting to use the current pandemic to explain the significant deficit of £31 million. This is not the case: the university has been poorly managed.

An official university statement states that it is “taking bold and prudent steps now to manage our finances, ensure our long-term sustainability and secure the quality of our learning experience". As a cohort of undergraduate and postgraduate students, staff, and supporters of the University of East London, we believe that the redundancies and restructuring that the university proposes can only be detrimental to the academic experience and quality of teaching and supervision for a large number of students across a range of departments, as well as being detrimental to the community that the university seeks to serve.

Please sign to demand that the university reverses these proposed redundancies in light of their commitment to providing a high quality learning experience for all of its students. For further information, please see the below context and demands section. 

 

Context and Demands

We are a group of PGRs who have gathered to resist the planned staffing cuts and university restructuring. The below sets out some of the key aspects of the changes being proposed - note that we will be amending this as the situation progresses. 

The university claims that it is “taking bold and prudent steps now to manage our finances, ensure our long-term sustainability and secure the quality of our learning experience”. However, if the cuts go ahead: 

  • There will be a negative impact on the quality of learning, teaching, supervision and support for ourselves as researchers, and our postgraduate and undergraduate peers on taught courses.
  • There will also be significant effects on our health and wellbeing, as we navigate the stresses of these changes.
  • Many of the reasons we have each chosen to study at UEL will go (ranging from supervision from leading academics, the focus on community engagement, and the strong portfolio of measures being taken to turn UEL into an anti-racist organisation).
  • The job losses will have a significant personal effect on staff, some of whom will be asked to compete with one another for their jobs.
    There will be significant knock-on effects for the wider East London community.
  • UEL’s national and international reputation as a strong research institution with a varied portfolio will be affected, potentially affecting future job prospects.
  • UEL’s relationship to it’s alumni and stakeholders will suffer.

We are at present demanding four things:

  1. There has to be an extension of the consultation period that is due to end at the end of August 2020. 
    • *Students have not been properly consulted as part of the plan.
    • *The timing of the consultation has fallen - conveniently - across the summer holidays, when many staff and students take their holiday.
    • *A month long consultation period is clearly insufficient given the scale of the changes being proposed.
  2. There must be clear business plans that are circulated to all, allowing for substantive input from staff and students.
  3. There has to be an investigation into the leadership of the university. 
  4. There must be senior staff pay cuts for those on the University Executive Board.

By signing this petition, you will not only be supporting staff members, but you will be supporting everybody involved with UEL, as well as the wider East London community.