UCU Dispute to Defend Pensions

We had a really well attended general meeting on Wednesday where we heard about the inspiring campaign against casualisation at SOAS and then passed two motions (soon to be available on the website) in relation to the pensions dispute. Members asked for further clarification on how best to participate in the assessment boycott so here is our most up-to-date guidance. We will be in touch with you soon with dates of ‘surgeries’ where you can come and ask questions and make suggestions about the dispute/
The boycott has now started and is running indefinitely. As of now, you should not:
  • Set examinations
  • Mark or examine work that contributes to the formal assessment process
  • Process marks or assessments (even if these were produced before the boycott started)
  • Attend or participate in meetings in which student work is assessed or examined.
This applies to all levels of study – from undergraduate to doctoral dissertations – and includes both theory-based and practice-based work.The boycott applies to formal assessment only.

This covers work which attracts a mark or leads to a decision that formally contributes to an award or to progression. It does not apply to formative work as long as this work has no impact on a formal decision about a student’s mark or their suitability to progress.
This means that ‘interim’ assessments which do contribute to a final mark down the line are covered by the boycott. ‘Coursework essays’ and ‘indicative projects’ , on the other hand, which allow for lecturers to provide feedback and which are neither compulsory nor given a mark are not covered by the boycott.
Performance and practice-based work
Many members have asked about how best to deal with performance or practice-based work. This is best decided on collectively by members within the Department in conjunction with the branch executive and we are urging all Departments to hold ‘surgeries’ as soon as possible.
However, we have been told that if you do not feel it is possible to cancel or postpone the performance, then it is OK to attend the event as a normal teaching exercise and to keep private notes that may allow you to produce detailed comments leading to a mark once the boycott has been called off.
More detail on all of these issues can be found at http://defenduss.web.ucu.org.uk/assessment-boycott-faqs/
Management’s response
The College has assured us that, as things stand, they have no plans to deduct pay for ‘partial performance’.
Associate Lecturers
Under the assimilation agreement, ALs at Goldsmiths are paid separately for marking and thus will be particularly affected by the boycott. We will be operating a hardship fund but will consider setting up a levy from permanent members of staff as long as their pay remains unaffected. We would welcome your feedback on this.
Support from students
We are fully aware of the impact that such a boycott is likely to have on students but we have little choice if we are to apply maximum pressure to bring the employers back into meaningful negotiations. UCU has produced an A4 leaflet which you can get from the GUCU office or contact our temporary administrator, Yael Gerson (gucu-admin@gold.ac.uk). Please do circulate these to your students and patiently explain why students should support a campaign aimed at protecting the pay and conditions of the staff who teach them and who support their studies. Remember that the action is supported officially by Goldsmiths Students Union and by the NUS.
The Goldsmiths Assembly: 1-2pm Tuesday 18 November
All the campus unions have called a Goldsmiths Assembly for lunchtime on Tuesday 18 November in order to discuss the dispute and to consider other associated issues. Please come and bring your students and colleagues. Free pizza will be served! Further reading

There are interesting pieces on the dispute at:
In solidarity


Leave a Reply