On 6 November, academics and staff at 69 universities will begin a marking boycott to protest against proposed changes to pensions. This may disrupt planned exams and mean that students do not receive marks for coursework or other assignments. The marking boycott will continue indefinitely, though representatives from the University and Colleges Union (UCU) are due to meet with university employers to negotiate an alternative on 7 November.
From: Marking boycott: why are academics protesting about pensions? - The Guardian
The Students' Union's Full-time Officers will be meeting Clare Mackie, University of Sussex Pro Vice Chancellor, and representatives from Sussex UCU next week. The topic will be discussed at the next meeting of Union Council. The Union's response to the marking boycott at Sussex will be released after those meetings.
Update 11/11/14: Students' Union Council voted to support the marketing boycott
Today, the Union's Full-time Officers have signed the following letter which appeared in today's newspaper in support of academic staff at higher education institutions (including Sussex) taking part in ongoing industrial action.
From 6 November 2014, academic staff at 69 higher education institutions across the country are set to begin a marking boycott; the next step in on-going industrial action by the University and College Union.
The proposed changes to pensions thathave lead to this action will cost university staff thousands of pounds a year in lost benefits and create inequality across different institutions.
This comes in light of the fact that since 2009, average academic pay has fallen by 14.5%, whilst Vice-Chancellor salaries increased by 5.1% in the last year alone. The average gender pay gap in higher education is 17%, and 53% of universities employ staff on zero hour contracts.
Students are angry that this boycott is happening. But let there be no illusions: our anger is aimed squarely at university managements and Universities UK, who oversee lucrative salary increases for Vice-Chancellors whilst leaving staff out in the cold.
Any draconian response from universities - such as the legally dubious threat of withdrawing the full salary for those partaking in a boycott - will be met with responses and discontent from students and staff who are united on this issue.
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