By Amelia Jacob, Co-Editor-in-Chief
The University and College Union (UCU) announced today its members have voted to extend further industrial action into the new academic year, as the MAB (Marking and Assessment Boycott) continues.
The UCU’s Higher Education Committee met this afternoon, stating in the announcement that the union is also preparing a new ballot so its industrial mandate can be renewed. Specific strike action dates will be announced in due course.
The MAB, which has been in place at 145 universities since 20 April this year, has left many students with 'unclassified' degrees, and in some cases, left students unable to graduate.
‘I don’t know how they can treat individuals like this’ | Students express fury at delays to degree results https://t.co/snLou0ycuK— Epigram (@EpigramPaper) July 14, 2023
On 11 August, education minister Robert Halfon sent an open letter to Jo Grady, UCU General Secretary, appealing to cease the MAB. Mr Halfon advised he was ‘deeply concerned about the impact [...] on students, many of whom have already suffered significant disruption to their studies over recent years.’
He went on to express he ‘strongly urge[s] both UCU and UCEA to resume negotiations which I hope, if successful, will bring an end to the boycott and further industrial action.’
As part of the union’s announcement today, Jo Grady stated:
‘While we have agreed to requests for a joint review of sector finances, employers have made no attempt to compromise on the key issues [...] Vice-chancellors have decided that crushing their own workers is more important than seeing students graduate after years of hard work. This is a national scandal.
‘The UK higher education sector presents itself as a world leader, but it is riddled with casualisation, insecurity and low pay - our members have no choice but to stand up for themselves.’
The union advises disruption will continue unless negotiations begin between the UCU and UCEA (Universities and Colleges Employers Association).