Exeposé News online (3 November 2014)
The University of Exeter is one of 69 institutions set to be affected by marking boycott on Thursday 6 November.
In a move which could affect hundreds of thousands of students across the country, the University and College Union (UCU) has announced the boycott in light of ongoing rows over pensions.
During the boycott, students will receive no formal marks or feedback, and will not be set coursework, with the move also preventing any planned exams taking place.
Last week UCU announced that its members had backed industrial action against changes to the USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme) – changes understood to have led from an expected deficit in the pension scheme.
After talks held last week between UCU and employers’ representatives, the union insisted that it had received no guarantee that members’ pensions would be protected by employers – with UCU general secretary Sally Hunt commenting: “We are being asked to buy a pig in a poke and that is simply not acceptable.
“We hope the employers will come back to the table for genuine negotiations aimed at resolving the enormous gap between our two positions.”
However, Universities UK has argued that the proposed changes offer the best possible deal under the terms set by USS trustees.
In a recent ballot of UCU members who are in the USS, more than three quarters voted in support of strike action, while 87 per cent supported action short of walkouts, including the marking boycott.
A UUK spokesman said: “We are disappointed that the UCU has decided to pursue a damaging course of industrial action aimed directly at disrupting students’ education.
“Taking industrial action will not make the substantial scheme deficit and the risks to the future viability of the scheme go away.”