Earlier this month, the University of Essex UCU branch announced strike action in response to the threat of up to 80 per cent pay deductions for participating in the national Marking and Assessment Boycott. The proposed strike dates included the 5-7 July, so would have affected our annual conference.
The SHS has long supported democratic industrial action and is grateful to Essex colleagues for planning and facilitating our conference. With significant resources invested into the event, the Executive Committee held an emergency meeting, canvassed our Committee and approached the Essex UCU Committee directly to discuss our response.
Essex UCU announced yesterday (21 June) that the strike had been called off and members encouraged to adopt alternative tactics in their dispute. They also confirmed that the threat of pay deductions remained in force.
We have today (22 June) written to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Essex to express our support for legal industrial action and the academic principle of work being marked, moderated and externally examined by specialists. You can read the full letter here (pdf).
We have also made a generous donation to the Essex UCU hardship fund.
Dr Jak Peake, the President of Essex UCU, has written to thank us for our support. He wrote that ‘The SHS’s support means a great deal to our members, and we are truly grateful for your dedication to social justice and fair working conditions within higher education’. You can read his full letter here (pdf).