Edinburgh University marking and assessment boycott cancelled by UCU

Edinburgh UCU will not be calling on members to participate in a marking and assessment boycott

Plans for a forthcoming marking and assessment boycott by Edinburgh University staff have been cancelled.

Students were informed on Wednesday that the boycott was due to commence on Monday 23 May, but that disruption to students’ studies would be minimal.

In an email from Vice Principal Colm Harmon, it was announced on Friday that the industrial action by Edinburgh staff has since been cancelled by the University College Union (UCU).

According to a UCU press release not every branch is legally allowed to take action on Monday due to marking and assessment windows. Lecturers at 44 universities were due to begin the boycott on Monday, and whilst universities such as Nottingham and Glasgow will still be participating, Cardiff and Durham have cancelled their planned action. When approached, a UCU Scotland spokesperson offered no comment at this time.

It is thought the timing of the boycott means it would have had minimal impact on operations at the University of Edinburgh, as the majority of academic courses have already concluded teaching and assessment for the 2022/3 academic year.

Industrial action by the UCU has been ongoing for a number of years, as part of a dispute between academic staff and university leaders regarding workloads, casualisation, inequality, and cuts to pay and pensions.

In an email sent this afternoon to student Vice Principal Colm Harmon said: “I am writing to let you know that further industrial action will be taking place across many UK Universities, starting on Monday 23 May, to include a marking and assessment boycott.

“We very much recognise that the recent industrial action has been a challenging and disruptive time for many of you and we understand that news of further action will naturally cause concern. We fully respect the right for staff to take industrial action, however we also need to ensure that our students are not disadvantaged academically.

“Our priority is to minimise disruption to you throughout this period. We have robust measures in place to reduce impact on students and this includes plans to ensure you are not disadvantaged in your assessment or exam outcomes as a direct result of industrial action. We will be working to provide any assessment and exam results to you by the published timelines.

“Please be aware that not all staff will be participating and while the action takes place, you should work on the basis that your studies will continue as normal. This means that you should continue to submit assessments and it’s really important that you attend and complete any exams as planned.

“The University is continuing to support the ongoing national negotiations, and we hope that further discussions between the sector and the University and College Union (UCU) can resolve the dispute without the need for this industrial action.”

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