Further update on marking and assessment boycott

Further update on marking and assessment boycott

Update to outline the next steps that will be taken by the University with regard to the marking and assessment boycott

Dear colleagues,

This is an update following my last communication on 4 May to outline the next steps that will be taken by the University with regard to the marking and assessment boycott, including withholding pay for those members of staff who are choosing to participate in it.  

Schools have continued to provide further opportunities for staff to complete marking and assessment activities. We are now, however, at the stage where the final deadlines determined at a School level for marking/assessment to be submitted are near, or in some instances have passed.

The University will now be taking forward arrangements to withhold pay, based on 50% salary for those who have chosen to participate in the boycott. It is intended that withholding of pay based on 50% salary will be applied in the June 2023 payroll.

I appreciate that most staff have chosen not to participate in the boycott and would stress that the University’s approach with regard to withholding pay for those who do is in line with other universities, while others have confirmed that they are withholding pay based on 100%.

I have asked Heads of School, working with HR, to take forward the steps outlined below.

  1. Heads of School will ensure that they have communicated by email to staff the final deadline for returning marking/assessment and will also remind staff of the need to complete the notification of participation form if they are participating in the boycott.

  2. Heads of School will then communicate by email to staff participating in the boycott and the dates that 50% pay will be withheld. Please note that Heads of School will communicate with staff who have completed the notification of participation form, but also with those who have not done so, but where it is evident that they have participated in the boycott as they have not carried out marking/assessment available to them.  

  3. HR will then write to staff to confirm withholding of salary and notify Payroll.

As a reminder, staff are asked to complete the notification form to confirm participation in the boycott. A further opportunity for staff to notify the University that they have been participating in the boycott is by 5pm on Monday, 22 May 2023. If you have participated/are participating in the boycott and have not completed this form please complete the form by this deadline.

I would like to remind you that dates of participation in the boycott will be calculated by working back from the final date for the completion of marking and assessment, to the point at which marking was was available to be carried out. An example (with dates for illustrative purposes only) is included in the FAQs to explain this in more detail.

Following discussions with the UCU branch leadership locally, we have outlined an approach to the deduction of pay from hourly paid staff. We have also had constructive discussions with UCU locally on proposals they have brought forward with regard to casualisation. We have agreed to work together to make progress in this area. We also look forward to continuing to work constructively with UCU on a range of other areas, including workload, the national pay spine and pay gaps.

At the same time we remain strongly focused on protecting the interests of our students during the boycott and doing what we can to minimise its potential impact to ensure they can graduate or continue their studies.  

We will continue to have regular discussions with the Aberdeen UCU branch leadership team to make progress on a range of pay-related topics included in the national pay dispute that we can influence at a local level.

For more information please see: 

FAQ for staff

FAQ for students

Best wishes



Karl Leydecker
Senior Vice-Principal

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