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University of Cambridge calls on employer body UCEA to re-enter negotiations & end marking boycott

22 May 2023

The University of Cambridge has called on its own employer body, UCEA, to 'urgently' resume negotiations with UCU so that students can graduate.

The move, described as 'hugely significant' by UCU, was communicated via a joint statement signed by Dr Anthony Freeling, acting vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge and Michael Abberton, president of UCU's Cambridge branch. 

UCU said it is unacceptable that UCEA is risking student graduations by refusing to negotiate, and that other universities now need to follow Cambridge and demand UCEA ends the dispute. On Thursday 11 May UCEA wrote to UCU to formally withdraw from negotiations.

University staff at 145 universities across the UK are currently boycotting marking and assessments in a pay and working conditions dispute. By refusing to negotiate UCEA is putting the graduations of hundreds of thousands of students at risk. 

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'We welcome the statement from the University of Cambridge which is a hugely significant moment in these disputes. Rightly, Cambridge can see that the only way to find a resolution so students can progress is by getting back around the negotiating table. 

'If UCEA fails to listen to universities like Cambridge, a national degree scandal is coming around the corner. It's time to get serious, and fast.

'Other universities now need to follow Cambridge's lead, show that they care about their students and call on UCEA to re-enter negotiations and end the dispute.' 


Last updated: 22 May 2023