The UCU (University and College Union) have threatened to boycott marking final exams, coursework and dissertations in a row over pay. This ‘ultimate sanction’ has been given a green light and could potentially be implemented from April 28th if no further negotiations over pay are offered by university employers. If this boycott occurs, examiners and […]

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The UCU (University and College Union) have threatened to boycott marking final exams, coursework and dissertations in a row over pay. This ‘ultimate sanction’ has been given a green light and could potentially be implemented from April 28th if no further negotiations over pay are offered by university employers.

examiners and markers may refuse to discuss or communicate exam marks to student

If this boycott occurs, examiners and markers may refuse to discuss or communicate exam marks to students. This could be a hindrance to many final year students who won’t have their final degree marks and could be unable to graduate.

Boycotting marking has been a tactic implemented by university unions before. The last instance was in 2006, which led to a multi-year above inflation pay rise for several years.

Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary has commented: ‘No member I have spoken to wishes to see this dispute escalate, but in the continued absence of meaningful negotiations from the employers, we are left with no alternative.’

The UCU have rejected a 1% pay rise for the 2013-2014 financial year. They claim that in real terms wages have decreased by 13% since 2009 and want a higher pay rise. The union have asked for ‘meaningful talks’ with university employers, and have demonstrated their unhappiness with several strikes within the last few weeks.

The UCU are also angered by the pay rise vice-chancellors received last year. On average, vice-chancellors received a 5% pay rise, which is above the union worker’s pay rise. They think it is unfair that their workers’ pay rise was below the vice-chancellors’ one.

Employers are threatening to withhold pay for staff that take action this way. They have said they want to discuss future pay rises, not ones from the past. The negotiations for pay rises for the next financial year begin in March, and employers are looking to those to negotiate a better deal for staff then. They say that on average, pay has increased by 3% each year since 2009.

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