Marking boycott PLANNED as UCU play trump card
“Ultimate sanction” could halt exam marking and prevent students from graduating
With negotiations stalled, UCU’s Higher Education Committee has been given the go ahead to SUSPEND MARKING WORK at the end of this semester.
The nationwide boycott will apply from 28 April, and will likely affect summer exams and peak coursework-marking season if the pay dispute is not resolved.
Finalists are likely to be particularly badly hit, as a refusal to mark final-year modules, dissertations and exams would mean students are unable to officially graduate in the summer.
While real jobs are unlikely to care much whether you have officially been awarded your degree or not, this could put the kibosh on final-year students with plans to commence further study in September.
Similarly, it may also cause headaches over progression for students in lower years.
In a letter to union members, UCU’s General Secretary, Sally Hunt, highlighted that in setting an April date for the boycott, the committee has “provided a window of opportunity for the employers to address our just demands” in the intervening ten weeks.
This news confirms the fearful whispers of a possible marking boycott that have been circulating in recent weeks. The perception is that it is an ace in the hole for the unions – or the “ultimate sanction” – and could give them huge leverage in the pay dispute. Will this measure turn students’ anger on university management or backfire onto the lecturers?
In response, unis are “likely to impose 100% pay deductions for ‘partial performance’ while exam scripts remain unmarked” – which could play havoc with lecturers’ personal finances this summer until such time as the dispute is resolved.
This just got serious. Tell us what you think in the comments!