Despite further efforts by senior leaders and representatives from the local branch executive of the University and College Union (UMUCU) over recent days to seek a constructive way forward with Marking and Assessment (MAB) deductions, a further proposal from the University has been rejected by 155 members representing 67% of 231 UMUCU members who voted in a branch meeting yesterday. We have around 2,000 UCU members across the university.
As we have said previously, in seeking to balance accounting for the impact of the MAB action on students and staff, with the desire to get back to normal through completion of outstanding work and avoid further local action, we had made a new proposal that for those staff who have taken MAB action, 45% (increased from 33% previously) of the time participating in that action would not be subject to deduction or would be reimbursed as appropriate.
This would have been in addition to the agreement that 100% deductions were reversed which has happened, and an extension of the marking and assessment completion deadline to 13 October which has also been implemented.
As previously, we had asked UMUCU in return to take all reasonable steps to ensure that all outstanding marking and assessments by members participating in MAB, are completed by the 13 October deadline.
In addition, the University asked for the withdrawal of the remaining days of strike action that began on Tuesday 19 September and are now planned to continue until the end of this week and then from Monday, 25 to Friday, 29 September.
We are very disappointed that this proposal was not accepted.
Taken together with the agreements regarding 100% deductions and the extension of the marking and assessment boycott, we believe this is a fair and equitable solution that would have been good news for staff, whether they participated in MAB or not, but most importantly had a clear focus on the needs of students who have graduated, are progressing or indeed those joining us for the first time.
While it is clearly disappointing to have any form of disruption over the start of a new semester, I know colleagues across the University are mitigating and minimising impacts on Welcome Week and beyond for our new and returning students.
Director of People & Organisational Development