Student assessments and graduations could be jeopardised after the University and College Union (UCU) gave the green light for a marking boycott.
Should a pay dispute between universities and staff fail to find a resolution the ‘ultimate sanction’ of a marking boycott will be implemented from 28th April. This will result in lecturers refusing to mark exams, coursework and communicate marks, applying to all categories of student.
The UCU, which has not enforced a marking ban for a decade, rejected a pay increase of 1%. It claimed this increase would leave staff with a real-terms cut of 13% since 2009, while vice-chancellors has seen their salaries rise by over five per cent on average.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “A marking boycott is the ultimate sanction, but an avoidable one if the employers would negotiate with us over pay. 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.
“I fail to see how any university can claim to have students’ best interests at heart if it is not pushing for talks with the union to resolve this dispute. Even now the timetable we have set provides a generous window of opportunity for the employers to address our just demands, which we, and students, hope they take.
The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) which represents universities in pay negotiations, claimed there is only “dwindling support for industrial action” and have said that the loss of support for the union’s campaign have meant the recent strikes have had little impact.