The UCU have confirmed a boycott of marking and assessments as part of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension dispute.
The decision was made on Wednesday 26 April by delegates at a meeting of UCU’s special higher education sector conference (SHESC).
The timetable for the boycott will be communicated with members on Friday 6 May.
Last month, 88.1% of university staff who voted backed taking industrial action which would include a marking boycott in the dispute over pensions. The boycott would involve staff refusing to complete any marking of students’ work.
This means students could be left without grades, and some could be left unable to graduate.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said:
‘UCU members have had enough of senseless and vindictive attacks on their pensions. Vice chancellors could resolve these disputes tomorrow and prevent any more disruption for staff and students. Until then the union’s full weight is behind every member who is taking this action as it is the only way to secure the long term future of the sector.
‘Our members choose to work in higher education because they are passionate about working with students. They don’t want special treatment, but fair treatment. Sadly vice chancellors remain intent on stealing from the retirement funds of their own workforce.’
A final year student explained that this news is ‘devastating’.
‘I’ve been sympathetic to the cause of striking lecturers throughout the three years of my degree, but hearing that there could be a marking boycott is causing a great deal of sadness and anxiety,’ they said.
‘We have paid a lot of money for an education we have not received (I have dealt with strikes every year of my degree) and have had to deal with a global pandemic on top of that, the students are the people who have been supportive of these strikes, and now we’re the ones suffering. Not being able to graduate could have a huge effect on people who have grad schemes, jobs, or masters degrees lined up.’