There are hopes of a resolution to the ongoing strike action being conducted by the Universities and College Union (UCU).
The UCU have agreed to participate in talks with other unions involved with higher education to discuss pay negotiations and the possible marking boycott which would take place from April 2014, thus possibly preventing some third year students from graduating.
The talks between the UCU and the Colleges Employers Association (CEA) will seek to find a resolution to the extensive industrial action that has been taking place over the 1 per cent pay offer for 2013/14.
Kallum Taylor, YUSU President, commented on the talks between the UCU and the CEA: “We’ve always been clear and held a line centred on the importance of togetherness on this issue; in how the treatment of staff will impact on students’ experiences, and vice versa. This kind of action will undermine that line though, and the UCU will lose a lot of sympathy from the student body with this action.”
He added; “We’ll be speaking to representatives this week to see if we can (at the very least) mitigate the impact of this action; there must be other means of effective, impacting action which doesn’t harm students.”
A spokesperson for the University spoke of their hopes for a resolution: “We have been informed that the University and Colleges Union (UCU) is considering an escalation of their industrial action to include a possible boycott of marking from 28 April 2014. This is still to be confirmed and our hope is that the national talks which are continuing between the unions and UCEA will provide a positive resolution and avert further action.”
The University were quick to reassure students that despite plans for a marking boycott, they will ensure there is a minimal impact on students: “Contingency plans and advice to departments are being developed so that if such action is called the University will be able to respond swiftly to minimise adverse effects on students and colleagues and to ensure academic standards are maintained.
“We will keep you informed as soon as we are notified by UCU of their intention to take further action and the exact nature of the disruption, and provide guidance as appropriate.”