UCU calls for marking and assessment boycott starting on 20th April

The union has warned since term one of actions that ‘strategically target the summer finals’

The University and College Union (UCU) announced on Twitter that university employers have been warned of marking and assessment boycotts (MABs) beginning on Thursday, 20th April.

This is the latest escalation in the union’s ongoing disputes with university employers over pay, working conditions, and pensions.

It also came after the union renewed its national mandate for strikes and action short of strikes (ASOS) at 150 UK universities, including 31 in London, on 3rd April. While this suggests the latest call for MABs will apply to all London universities involved, there have been no confirmations from any London UCU branches so far except for several of them sharing and supporting the original tweet.

The UCU represents academic staff like lecturers and tutors at UK universities and colleges. Over the past few years, it has called numerous strikes, action short of strikes, and MABs over two disputes with their employers: one for better pay and working conditions, and the other against cuts to pensions and benefits.

In addition to calling fifteen days of strikes so far this academic year, the union warned since October that they plan to call MABs that “strategically target the summer finals” if a settlement is not reached by April.

A MAB would mean participating staff will not grade coursework or invigilate exams, but it will not affect the assessment of postgraduate dissertations and theses.

The 31 London universities affected by the current dispute, along with over 150 unis around the country, are:

  1. Birkbeck, University of London
  2. Brunel University London
  3. City, University of London
  4. Courtauld Institute of Art
  5. University of East London
  6. Goldsmiths, University of London
  7. University of Greenwich
  8. Imperial College London
  9. King’s College London
  10. Kingston University
  11. London Metropolitan University
  12. London School of Economics
  13. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  14. London South Bank University
  15. Middlesex University
  16. Queen Mary, University of London
  17. Roehampton University
  18. Royal Academy of Music
  19. Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
  20. Royal College of Art
  21. Royal College of Music
  22. Royal Holloway, University of London
  23. Royal Veterinary College, University of London
  24. Senate House, University of London
  25. SOAS, University of London
  26. St George’s, University of London
  27. St Mary’s University, Twickenham
  28. University College London
  29. University of the Arts London
  30. University of West London
  31. University of Westminster

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• Russell Group uni is ‘considering using external staff’ for marking during staff boycott