UCU members at University of Brighton are participating in a national Marking and Assessment Boycott called as part of the union’s Four Fights dispute. Our action involves refusing to mark students’ assignments.

Management at this university have responded by threatening to deduct 100% of the pay of staff who refuse to submit marks. Rather than attempting to bully their staff in this way, UCU calls on Brighton management to use their influence to settle this long-running dispute.

The Marking and Assessment Boycott is a form of industrial action (other forms include strikes and working-to-contract). Its aim is to force employers to negotiate a deal that can end our dispute. By targeting marking and assessment – not teaching – it allows education to continue while we seek an acceptable deal.

Our demands are clear and justified: fair pay; an end to casualisation; pay equality; and reasonable workloads for all. Meeting these demands would mean a University system that is fair, that allows all staff to do their jobs to the best of their abilities and to support students in the way that we all want to and in a way that you deserve. The current system is one in which staff can’t afford to pay their bills, are impossibly overworked, and face injustices every day. The current system doesn’t work for anybody. We demand better: for students, for staff, for society.

There may be a short-term impact on students right now. But the long term impact of doing nothing is much more severe, so we are choosing to fight now for what’s right. Employers could end this dispute today; it is their choice to allow it to continue and to impact on students now.

We really do not take this action lightly, which is why we are willing to continue even with threats of being deducted 100% of our salary. To students: we hope that you will support your staff in resisting these unjust and appalling 100% pay deductions on staff who are still working to support you. Above all we hope students will support staff in this fight for a better education system for all.

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