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Vice-Chancellor news

Marking and assessment boycott

23 June 2023

Dear colleague

Further to my earlier all staff e-mail and the discussions at the all staff webinar, you will be aware that, in keeping with others across the sector, industrial action is taking place in Cardiff in the form of a marking and assessment boycott (MAB). This is a national dispute and not something that Cardiff University can resolve independently.

As I have often stated before, we are part of national pay bargaining, and therefore one of 144 institutions involved in this process. We do, however, continue to engage with Cardiff University and College Union (UCU) on matters within our local control and where we can make improvements to support our staff.

I am writing today following a meeting with Cardiff UCU at which we discussed the possibility of a local resolution to limit the impact of MAB on our students. Although the discussions were constructive, unfortunately we were not able to find a way forward.

You will be aware that as a University we are doing all we can to mitigate the UCU action, and although we believe that the proportion of colleagues participating is low, the impact on individual students cannot be underestimated and is particularly unfair for a cohort who have already experienced so much disruption over the previous few years.

In light of this I am writing to you directly as staff members to ask you to do all you can to protect our students from the impact that this action may have on them.

In addition, I want to confirm that we will not withhold pay for any action taken in April, May and June 2023 if colleagues currently participating in a marking and assessment boycott confirm to their Head of School by end of Monday 26 June 2023 that:

  • all assessments are fully marked and submitted to the School Office by Monday 3 July
  • you submit any outstanding resit exam papers and assessment briefs by Friday 14 July.

If colleagues do not submit marks or papers as detailed above, we will assume that any missing marks or papers are due to their ongoing participation in the MAB. This will result in pay being withheld in line with the University’s existing policy on withholding pay for breach of contract (partial performance of duties). Colleagues that have already confirmed and are continuing with their participation will see deductions for April and May in their June pay, and the June action will be reflected in their July pay.

I wanted to take this final opportunity to make it clear to colleagues that there is still just time to avoid compromising the future prospects of our students and avoid losing pay. Our students deserve our support as they make their way into their future lives, and we must find other ways to resolve our differences.

As this situation develops, we will continue to keep you updated. Please do keep referring to our staff intranet pages for all the latest information and FAQs.

With best wishes

Colin Riordan