More than 1,000 academics have resigned from their roles as external examiners in universities across the UK, in an escalation of this week’s industrial action over pay.
The mass resignation threatens to disrupt exam marking in universities this summer when boards meet to discuss challenged marks, with more widespread disruption expected at the start of the next academic year…
In a letter to the Guardian, signed by a representative group of 50 professors, they say they are resigning as part of industrial action by the University and College Union, which staged a two-day strike this week in protest against a 1.1% pay offer.
A UCU spokesperson said: “We’ve been inundated with calls from members who are resigning from their external examiner posts. It’s now in four figures and we are expecting more to come.”
The union said it was also concerned about both the increasingly insecure nature of employment in universities, with 75,000 staff on casualised contracts, and the continuing gender inequality in pay, with men earning an average 12.6% more than women.
The letter says: “We have resigned because, while as senior academics we believe our role in underpinning the quality of education provided to students is vital, we are all too aware of the unfairness of the current pay policies of our universities and their impact on staff themselves and their students.
“We have watched with sadness the pay of academic and professional staff fall in real terms by 14.5% since 2009; we have seen the numbers of casualised staff proliferate; and seen universities do little or nothing to reduce the shocking gender pay gap despite having a collective surplus of £1.85bn.”’ - Guardian