UCU to take industrial action over pension changes

The University and College Union has announced an assessment and marking boycott will take place

The University and College Union (UCU) has announced that it will be taking industrial action against proposed changes to staff pensions in the form of an assessment and marking boycott.

Photo Credit: Nouse

Photo Credit: Nouse

The boycott, which will begin on 6 November, means that some January examinations at the University of York could be rescheduled and take place later in the year instead. There may also be a delay in the time it takes to return marked work to students.

The Union revealed it would be taking industrial action after potential alterations to the Universities Superannuation Scheme were announced.

The scheme currently has a deficit of approximately £8bn but it is hoped the proposed changes, which would affect the benefits members of the scheme receive and include increasing employers’ contributions to the pension fund, would reduce this.

In an email sent to all students earlier today, the University informed students it is “strongly encouraging” negotiations to ensure staff are left with “attractive pension packages” at the same time as the deficit being reduced. The University also said it would withhold pay from members of staff who choose to participate in the boycott until they return to work as usual.

It is not known how many members of staff will take part in the assessment boycott as they are not legally required to make the University aware of their intentions in advance.

However, the email stated that if the planned industrial action “followed the pattern” of previous disagreements with the Union, most will not participate in the boycott.

The University also stressed it will do “its best” minimise the impact on students and that it is expected the majority of assessments to be marked and returned to students as they usually would.

The library, IT services and all catering and commercial outlets on campus will not be affected by the UCU’s plans for industrial action.

11 comments

  1. So, what’s UCU saying about this? The article gives the university’s viewpoint (“it’ll all be fine, nothing much will happen, don’t panic”), but in the interests of actually doing some reporting, it would be useful to give the UCU viewpoint as well.

    Not sure what the university can do to minimise impact on us… create magic marking gnomes? Though we might get better feedback that way.

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  2. @Tez, what the University can do is bully its employees, which is exactly what it has done. The University has decided to treat those who boycott marking as in breach of contract (despite the action being short of a strike) and has undertaken to withold 100% of wages from any who take this action. Any work undertaken by boycotting staff during their boycott will be deemed voluntary and go unpaid.

    Essentially our new VC has said employees may as well go on full strike. An incredibly confrontational approach

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    • @Ian, thanks for posting, and doing the Nouse’s job! I wonder how much of the confrontational approach is the new VC at work, or the HR department? According to their newsletters, there is more to HR.

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  3. Tough shit, try focusing your efforts of being nice to students, listen to students, value their opinion and don’t be a stuck up toss pot, maybe the university will evolve into a first class establishment and your salary might just rise with it.

    Most staff here are a waste of our good oxygen and walk around with giant chips on their shoulders, wondering if never leaving education was actually a good idea. Don’t take it out on us just because you can’t handle adult affairs.

    Academics = People that never really grew up.

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    • I’m sure you’ve met “most staff” in the course of your studies and therefore are qualified to share your intemperate opinion.

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    • Sounds like you have a huge chip on your shoulder. Staff aren’t here to be nice to you, or even value your opinion. They’re here to educate you, and that’s a two-way street. If I was a teacher, I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with you.

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  4. I think they should take away your pay if you want to act like a f**kwit.

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