UCL UCU’s response to UCL’s punitive MAB deductions

19 April 2023

Our response to UCL management's plan to impose a "flat rate" deduction of 36.5 days' pay for everyone who participates in the Marking and Assessment Boycott 

UCL have now announced their response to the UCU Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB).

They are planning an absurd and punitive "flat rate" deduction of 36.5 days' pay for everyone who participates (a 50% pay cut for the entire period of 24 April to 6 July).

That means everyone who participates loses 36.5 days' pay. Whether they mark 4 papers or 400. Whether their marking starts in April or at the end of May. Whether they're only involved in Exam Boards or if they're a PGTA whose contract ends in June. 

By contrast, Sheffield University (for example) has said "Pay deductions will [...] start from when it becomes clear a colleague is participating or has participated in the marking and assessment boycott (for example, on the date of the deadline for submitting marks in your faculty). [...] There is no declaration form for you to complete."

They also want us to declare participation in the MAB by 28 April, well ahead of any actual marking or assessment for many members.

UCL’s punitive approach is patently ridiculous, quite possibly unlawful, and designed to scare us. It appears to be based on a perception of staff contracts and academic teaching that are contrary to how a Research-led University works.

We need to show UCL that we as staff will not be bullied, by supporting each other to deliver a strong MAB.

Click here to sign our Open Letter to UCL's Provost: https://forms.gle/w98SnBK5VV8KfaX2A

We also advise members not to notify UCL of participation in MAB before June 9. Trade union members do not need to notify the employer ahead of taking any industrial action, therefore we believe that there is no lawful basis for this request.

A key issue is that UCL appears to be assuming that colleagues will be expected to accept work to mark during the marking period irrespective of its type or source. Whether you participate in the boycott or not, it is really important that no colleague accepts any work (especially work from colleagues participating in the boycott) that they have not previously been allocated. This is of course essential for basic quality assurance reasons, as well as a basic principle of defending your contractual rights.

The national union today voted for motions that will allow branches to take strike action to challenge disproportionate deductions, and our branch will be actively discussing next steps with members next week.

UCL UCU Executive Committee