Who are the UCU?
The University and College Union (UCU) represents over 12,000 academics and support staff in further and higher education. The UCU negotiate with employers on a local and national level, helping to improve access for professional development, as well as help build and support proper career structures. They campaign on a range of issues including education funding, privatisation and pensions.
There is a range of ways the UCU helps its members. The ways in which they can help range from work to non-work related services. These include, but are not limitied to, dealing with: insecure contracts; disciplinaries, dismissal and redundancy; illness, stress and injury; discrimination, bullying and harrassment; and gender-based violence and domestic abuse. As well as this, the union offers advice on equality, health & safety, pensions, planning for retirement, part-time working and professional issues.
What is the marking and assessment boycott?
As part of the pay and working conditions dispute, from Thursday 20th April 2023, the UCU is asking all members in higher education institutions to stop undertaking all summative marking and assessment activities and duties. The boycott will also cover assessment-related work, for example, exam invigilation and the processing of marks.
What is the university doing?
The university has said they are aware of the financial pressures facing staff, and in response to this, has recently put a range of measures in place. They also stated that they supported the 2022/23 pay round, offering colleagues a pay increase of 3% for employees on spinal point 20 and above, as well as a pay increase of between 3.1% and 9% on a sliding scale for employers on spinal points 3 - 19.
Solent University has said it will continue to be focussed on mitigating the impact of any action. Students should be reassured that the strikes, if any, will not have an instant impact. Students should attend exams and submit their assessments planned. They have said they are taking a range of steps to ensure that assessments will be set and that marking can be undertaken.
How might this affect students?
In regards to impact on students, the university has predicted they will not see any impact until 20 days after a students exam/assignment due date.
Despite this, the SU is here to help support students who are being affected by the impact of the strikes at any point. For anyone seeking support during this time, please click here to book an appointment or find more details on our advice service.