The Solidarity Federation Education Union (SFEU) would like to express its heartfelt thanks for the support shown by students at recent graduation ceremonies. The Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB) has been a difficult time for both staff and students, but it is clear that we stand in solidarity together against those institutions that would rather penalise its workers than negotiate with them. At some institutions, the MAB has had such a huge impact that graduation and classification of degrees has been severely affected. These huge sacrifices in terms of both pay and of grades demonstrate that that together we can make a difference and cracks are starting to show in the employers' association (UCEA), with one university, Queen's University Belfast, being suspended from UCEA for breaking ranks and brokering a local agreement.
As the number of management teams at Universities across the country show their willingness to re-open negotiations in order to limit the damage of the Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB) currently underway, there are some institutions that continue to threaten 100% reductions for "partial performance" of work. In the past, this kind of employer's lockout, when bosses refuse to pay you for any work done, has been upheld by the courts. Here at SFEU, the anarcho-syndicalist union in education, we would be surprised if the courts would act any differently - the courts do not reflect our interests but those of the people who control society in their benefit.
The Solidarity Federation Education Union (SFEU) would like to express its solidarity with university academic staff currently engaged in the Marking and Assessment Boycott as part of their demand for restored salaries, the elimination of the gender and race pay gap, workloads and casualization.
As on previous occasions, it is a big step to take but ultimately one of our greatest weapons for causing major disruption to the academic process. Students are understandably angered by university responses to date largely suggesting that they will just predict a grade based on their prior performance – it appears it is easier to ignore all their hard work this semester than to get round the table and negotiate an end to this dispute.
The Solidarity Federation Education Union (SFEU) utterly condemns Leeds University management’s contemptuous disregard for the nationally agreed strike protocols in threatening 100% wage deductions for "partial performance" of duties and in demanding that cancelled lectures be somehow replaced in the future. A strike by definition means the withholding of our labour, not simply re-arranging that labour to another day. Staff members are not paid when they strike - replacing cancelled lectures just adds to the unpaid workload that caused staff to strike in the first place and dilutes the impact of the industrial action.