Yesterday, we learned in an email received 14:22 that the 7 Heritage and Archaeology staff identified as ‘at risk’ were no longer considered at threat from compulsory redundancies.

Further to recent discussions, we are pleased to tell you that voluntary severance, together with revised arrangements relating to Faculty research, will be treated by the University as sufficient for no further action to be taken in respect of the current redundancy proposals relating to posts at risk in the Department of History and Archaeology. I am therefore pleased to advise you that your post is no longer at risk of redundancy in the current process…

Extract from email from human resources (‘change’), 14:22, 18 June 2021

This comes 79 days since staff affected were notified they were ‘at risk’ on the evening of 1 April and after 77 exhausting and stressful days of campaigning.

The rationale for this decision is obscure, just as was the decision to identify us as ‘at risk’ in the first place. Still, we strongly feel the robust and reasonable stance of the University and College Union supporting all staff affected across the University of Chester, our campaign and solidary from staff in the University as well as tremendous external support have been instrumental in this decision by management to climb down.


We remain demoralised, upset, angry and still supporting the @ChesterUCU campaign against compulsory redundancies since planned for staff in Engineering and Media.

Having said that, we are relieved that we can focus wholly again on our hard work teaching and researching – but also promoting good news about our work externally – without this needless cloud hanging over us.

Before we roll up our sleeves and turn away from campaigning and fire-fighting the reputational harm this process has caused us, we want to do say 3 things.

First, we want to (yet again) thank all our supporters – our tremendous UCU branch reps and members and colleagues at Chester. We recognise the many ways we’ve benefited from the support of our regional and national UCU members and officers. We equally want to thank all students past and present who have voiced their support. Also, many thanks to academic colleagues across the world. Archaeologists, heritage practitioners and other professionals regionally, nationally and globally who have stood up in our support and we salute them! Most of all, we thank the many members of the public who stood with us and recognised the value and significance of our work for our current society and for future generations.

In total, we garnered an amazing 6,600 signatures on our petition! Our Twitter account now has an astounding 3,361 followers, and this WordPress site has seen 48 posts and 3 project pages in the last 77 days! Put all this together and we have no further word other than THANK YOU!

Second, fights against cuts are still ongoing at Chester, but also across the UK, including Liverpool, Leicester, Aston and Sheffield. The threats to archaeology and heritage, as well as cognate disciplines, won’t go away if we hide our heads in the sand! Let’s keep fighting for Archaeology and Heritage at Chester, but also across the UK and beyond! To do so, please support the Dig for Archaeology campaign! Find them on Twitter here:

Third, we want to share the final set of comments linked to our petition. Yet again, for the 14th (small) batch, they show the clarity and breadth of strong arguments for Archaeology and Heritage degrees as versatile, vocational and high-quality qualifications, and for our staff at Chester for their many years of academic service.

for my wonderful and brilliant Ellie!! 
As a chlld, being an archaeologist was my dream job.
Guardians of our heritage and the Arts in general are under threat, I stand with UK Archaeology.
It ought to be unbelievable in a city like Chester with such a rich history and so much archaeology that the university should be thinking of closing it’s archaeology department.   
It would be a national loss!
My own 50 year interest in archaelogy and heritage started during my years as a trainee teacher at Chester College. I have been delighted to see the work done by the University in excavations around the city. Chester is one of Britain’s greatest historic cities, visited by people from throughout the World. It is vital that this department continues to function and continues with vital ‘discovery’ work still being undertaken.
Archaeology gives a university (in UK) an opportunity to raise its profile in its local region. I’m involved in local history and realise the need for expertise not solely confined to the big commercial archaeology companies