British senior lecturers announced they would stop acting as external examiners in various academic institutions in protest to poor pay and working conditions of senior academicians in UK universities.
The British senior lecturers are also urging their colleagues to join them in boycotting all forms of exam activities, which would invariably disrupt the academic year’s results for students.
Notably, the protesters are a vital part of higher education assessments as academic institutions rely on the British senior lecturers to be external examiners who independently validate the results of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
This new development, if not checked by the government, would lead to mass resignations, which would result in problems for universities in the setting and marking of exams.
In a letter signed by 29 professors and released to journalists, the British senior lecturers said they were resigning as external examiners because of pension cuts and insecure contracts throughout the educational sector.
They also included gender and ethnicity pay gaps, heavy workloads, stress, amongst others, as reasons for their refusals to sign new contracts with British academic institutions.
The Letter further stated:
It is long past time for universities to address these festering problems, and we believe we have a responsibility to staff at the start of their careers to make a stand now. Please join us by resigning from external examiner posts and refusing to take on new contracts until universities take action to address these issues.
Some British senior lecturers stance
As the protest by British senior lecturers increases, different lecturers disclose why they are participating in the demonstrations canvassing for better pay and working conditions.
Phil Taylor, a professor of work and employment at the University of Strathclyde, said he had signed the letter because he was fed up with universities treating their staff with contempt.
According to senior academicians deal with one insecure contract after another, face cuts in their pension, spiraling workloads, unrelenting pressure, soaring stress levels, and pay inequality.
He noted that British Universities must start to give more value to their staff, or they will lose the little goodwill that is left.
While, Natalie Fenton, a professor of media and communications at Goldsmiths, University of London, said British universities boasted about their global reputation while treating staff as second-class citizens.
Fenton explained that it is essential that senior academics on established contracts make a stand in support of less fortunate colleagues.
Notably, many universities have already begun a dialogue with the British senior lecturer’s unions over finding a solution for the employment issues.
In a related issue, thousands of civil servants in Northern Ireland are taking part in another strike about pay and working conditions.
The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) said the workers had had a below-inflation pay rise for nine years.
It said members wanted the assembly to treat them with the “same urgency as health workers.”
NIPSA said it would engage with management at the Department of Finance and other related government agencies as a first step to resolve the dispute.
However, added it would continue the action until a resolution was secured, “which would be acceptable to members.”
Notably, the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) is one of Northern Ireland’s largest employers, with more than 23,000 permanent staff.