University management respond to open letter on marking boycott

hatABERYSTWYTH University management have responded to the open letter organised and signed by 34 Academic and Institute Representatives. They wrote the letter to address the potential marking boycott by UCU which is due to start on the 26th of this month.

In the letter, the representatives requested for University Management to publicly call on the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) to make a fair pay offer, which would end the on-going dispute.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Rebecca Davies has sent a letter of response, which Ben Holihead, Third Year Representative for the Department of International Politics and one of the organisers of the open letter, said made him ‘unsure as to whether or not they had actually read the letter’ before responding, and that it ‘seems to be a stock response about the issue’.

Speaking to Aber Student Media, Holihead said, “I am quite disappointed with the response from the University management. I was expecting something more than what sounds like their stock response to any query about the marking boycott.

“We realise that pay is decided at a national level which is why we asked for the Vice Chancellor to publicly call on UCEA to make a fair pay offer which would end the national dispute. However their apparent refusal to respond to this signifies that the management are intent on sticking their heads in the sand and waiting for this to blow over by pretending that they cannot do anything.”

Holihead also told ASM that he has every intention of relaying this in another letter to the University.

The letter of response from University management is as follows:

Dear Student

Thank you for your recent letter about the University and College Union (UCU) call on its members for a marking boycott, in connection with a national salary dispute, from 28th April 2014.

The University fully understands that this is a matter of real concern to our students.

We are listening and have provided answers to common questions relating to the marking boycott and how it may affect our students here: http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/important-info/notices/title-148338-en.html. These FAQ’s will be added to and updated as necessary.

Decisions on pay increases for staff at publicly-funded universities in the UK are taken at a national sector wide level. Pay is not negotiated locally at Aberystwyth University. UCEA, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association, negotiates pay with the unions on behalf of most universities.

We are pleased that talks are still ongoing as we believe that constructive dialogue can resolve this.

However, if a marking boycott does go ahead, we will take every possible action to minimise its impact on our students. Rest assured, all examinations will proceed as normal and graduation dates are being set now.

We have mechanisms in place to agree different ways of working very quickly if we need to and everyone is committed to ensuring that we prioritise the cases of students who are due to graduate in the summer.

As with all previous industrial action, our priority is to reduce disruption and ensure the continuation of business as usual and in particular services for students wherever possible.

If you have any further questions or concerns please email [email protected]

Kind regards,

Rebecca