Statement on the Marking Boycott

From the 28th onward much of our work will not be marked.

In the face of a 13% real terms pay cut and huge rises in executive salaries, the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) have called a marking boycott.

In simple terms unionised staff will begin an indefinite stoppage of all marking, including essays, dissertations, projects, lab reports, assessed work and similar.

This decision has not been taken lightly. UCU have been in negotiations for a very, very long time, and all they have been offered is a 1% pay rise. This is below inflation and essentially equates to (another) pay cut. Negotiations, petitions, occupations, demonstrations, strike action – none of these have led the university to reconsider, and so now the union is forced to escalate. If a less disruptive tactic had produced any kind of meaningful response from the university, we would never have reached this point.

When Nigel Thrift called an Assembly Warwick staff overwhelmingly passed a motion (100 to 4) asking the university to resolve the situation fairly. They have been ignored for long enough. Staff are taking action in our interests and in the only way left open to them.

We, Warwick students, need to support the staff when they are forced to take action. It might become be tough for all of us, particularly for finalists. Staff know this, and wouldn’t do it if they didn’t have to. There will be no member of staff involved in the boycott who has not seriously considered the effect it will have on their students.

Looking out for one another means directly fighting pay inequality, even when that fight is tough. It means putting aside our personal concerns about our essays, about our marks, and about our feedback in order to support our staff. For the good of the university we need to stand together.

If we fail to support the people who have supported us then we will all loose in the long run. Staff are not using us as “leverage”, they are defending our education system.

Yes, it makes us angry too – very angry. Angry that the university management are so obsessed with profit that they have completely and utterly failed in their duty to the people who actually do the daily business of educating. Angry that Nigel Thrift is paid 400k while outsourced staff still don’t get the living wage. Angry that the basic values of education – learning, exploring the world, transforming the future – now seem to be second to the business interests of Warwick University Ltd.



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