After only two weeks of action, the marking boycott in pre-92 universities has been put on hold until mid-January.
The decision to abandon the action for talks just as it was beginning to bite has prompted furious criticism by branches, unhappy at the enormous compromises the leadership seems prepared to accept to cut a deal. There is already evidence that universities are taking advantage of the suspension to bring forward exam-setting deadlines. This will make it much harder to make action effective in January.
Although the UCU compromise plan is better than the employers’ proposals, it will still leave many members facing a six-figure loss across their retirement when compared with what they would have received under the final salary scheme! With an 87% vote for action on the biggest turn-out since UCU was formed in 2006, the boycott clearly had the support of members. Its suspension now for no concessions beyond a promise of no pay deductions for action taken to date is bizarre. The negotiators urgently need to be called to account.
Branches should support UCU Left’s call for a special conference to debate the tactics to date.