The University and College Union (UCU) has announced its decision not to boycott marking student exam papers after its members took a vote on new pay deals being offered by employers.
The UCU originally decided to call a marking boycott from 28th April after universities chose to offer their staff just a 1% increase in their pay for
next year this year. [Correction 16/5/2014: The original version of this article outlined that a 1% pay rise was offered for next academic year (2014/15) when this was in fact offered for this year (2013/14). Apologies for any inconvenience caused.] . It was feared that a boycott would lead to a delay in students graduating from university. However, after a 2% pay increase for next year was offered by universities the UCU postponed the boycott to the 6th of May to allow its members to vote on the offer.
Almost 84% of the union’s members took part in the vote and a mere 16% voted to reject the new pay increase. Speaking on the issue, UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt said: “UCU members have made it overwhelmingly clear that they wish to accept the 2% pay offer and call off the proposed marking boycott.
“We shall be informing universities of their decision and that the marking boycott is off. My thanks go to UCU members for their support in this dispute”.
The 1% pay increase given to university staff for the current year has been the cause of much anger among university staff with several strikes being held by higher education union members since last October. The 2% increase, which universities said was their “full and final” offer, followed a fierce standoff between the employers and their staff, with universities threatening a 100% pay reduction to all employees who took part in the boycott.
Following the UCU’s choice to call off the protest, Prof Neil Ward, Pro Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UEA spoke of his delight that the dispute had been resolved: “We have assured final year students that graduation will proceed as usual and are pleased that this situation has been brought to a satisfactory conclusion for everyone involved”.
Correction 16/5/2014: The original version of this article outlined that a 1% pay rise was offered for next academic year (2014/15) when this was in fact offered for this year (2013/14). Apologies for any inconvenience caused.