The University of Ulster’s threat to deduct 100% of salary for each day that a member of staff participates in a marking and assessment boycott has been branded as ‘outrageous’ by the Workers Party
The action effectively amounts to a lockout in an attempt to force members of University and College Union (UCU) to end their industrial action.
After voting decisively in favour of industrial action, including a marking and assessment boycott, their university employers have refused to meet UCU’s reasonable and just demands in the pay and working conditions dispute, which also include a framework to eliminate zero-hours, and other insecure, contracts and meaningful action to tackle unmanageable workloads.
They are also protesting against dramatic changes to their pension rights which would see at least 35% slashed from a typical member’s guaranteed retirement income.
The latest threats come against a backdrop of similar coercions in third level education across the UK with job losses and course closures in at least a dozen universities – all of them ones which predominately service local communities, mature students and 1st generation students, meaning they will have the greatest impact on working class students
The UCU members taking industrial action here are not only seeking to protect the interests of their members but also the future security and quality of third level education.
It is clear from this and other recent instances, the sacking of the P&O workers for example, that the gains and achievements fought for and attained by workers over generations are being undermined and reversed.
We extend our solidarity and best wishes to the UCU and its members in this dispute.