Marking boycott could lead to MORE cancelled lectures as unis dock staff pay

Unions accuse universities of bullying as students face knock-on effect on graduation


Students could face more cancelled lecturers as universities refuse to pay staff involved in marking boycotts. 

Unis have threatened to dock 100% of staff pay should they strike, meaning any teaching they choose to do will be voluntary.

The Universities and College Employers Association – who represent all Higher Education institutions – said the disruption to students comes with ‘heavy hearts’.

They are set to hold talks with the University College Union (UCU) next week to resolve the ongoing pay dispute – which started in October.

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A spokesman added: “In the UCU’s own words, this assessment boycott would be ‘potentially impacting on students’ ability to graduate’. HE (higher education) institutions have long had clear policies not to accept the partial performance of duties and would be deducting pay from any staff who chose to take part, precisely in order to limit the impact on students’ education.”

“All parties do of course hope that this potential action will be averted.” 

The UCU are set to strike on April 28.

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Staff striked because of a 1% pay increase

The boycott means staff would refuse to mark students’ work, including coursework essays, portfolios, dissertations, films, and works of art. They would also refuse to communicate marks to anyone, having a knock-on effect on students hoping to graduate.

The UCU have slammed the threats as little more than bullying.

UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt said: “Universities that deduct 100% of pay from staff participating in our marking boycott will be showing a clear disregard for their students. This threat is little more than an attempt to bully staff from taking part in industrial action as part of a legitimate grievance against efforts to drive down their pay.”

UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt

UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt: “Little more than an attempt to bully staff.”

“Staff have taken strike action six times and we have been left with no option but to move towards this ultimate sanction.”

“You cannot claim to have students’ best interests at heart and then escalate the situation by effectively locking staff out of their place of work.”

“Nobody wants to see a marking boycott, but we are encouraged that the National Union of Students passed a motion in support of our action at their national conference last week.”

The announcement comes one day after Nottingham Trent Vice Chancellor Professor Neil Gorman was accused of ‘bully-boy’ tactics by his own staff.

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A university union member who contacted Nottingham Post, said: “The levels of hypocrisy in Professor Gorman’s letter are breathtaking.”

“This bully-boy behaviour may break the industrial action but it is also bound to turn the university into an academic pariah.”

“Many of my most talented, committed colleagues are already ashamed to work here. Potential students will soon get the message.”

Students across the country have protested in solidarity with staff pay cuts and against the privatisation of loans.

In Birmingham, 14 students were arrested after they broke into the iconic Old Joe clocktower on campus.

Students claim they were kettled for four hours into the Great Hall.

Elsewhere, self proclaimed anarchists stormed a university building in Sheffield and stopped all staff or students from entering.