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No end to graduation disruption as university employers block resolution

1 August 2023

UCU has slammed UCEA for condemning students across the UK to continued graduation disruption by refusing to settle the ongoing pay and conditions dispute.

The union was responding to a letter UCEA sent yesterday which said employers will not make any attempt to restore punitive pay deductions for staff who have boycotted marking, nor will they make any improved pay offer.

The marking boycott began at 145 universities on Thursday 20 April and there is no prospect of it coming to an end whilst employers refuse to improve on their pay offer and continue to punitively dock pay. The National Union of Students and many of UCEA's own member institutions such as the University of Cambridge and the University of Sussex have called on it to settle the dispute.

The surplus the sector generated last year could raise pay by 10% and still leave hundreds of millions of pounds spare.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'University bosses have now made it clear they would rather throw students under the bus than settle this dispute. They are refusing to offer staff anything on pay, nor will they redress the punitive deductions many members have suffered for participating in the marking and assessment boycott. This is causing untold harm to our members and untold harm to students.

'Vice-chancellors want to break our spirit, but they completely underestimate our solidarity and determination to win a fair deal for staff and for students. Our members have remained rock-solid throughout this dispute, they will not be cowed by employers' bullying tactics and will continue to hold the line in the marking boycott. Likewise, UCU will do everything possible to challenge employers over their brutal deductions and we are preparing the ground for legal action.

'Employers' failure to use the sector's huge wealth to support staff and allow students to graduate condemns higher education to continued disruption throughout the rest of the summer and into the next academic year. Our members will not stop fighting until they get what they deserve.'

Last updated: 1 August 2023