Further update on Marking and Assessment Boycott

Further update on Marking and Assessment Boycott

Update on the marking and assessment boycott

Dear colleagues,

This is a further update on the Marking and Assessment Boycott, including information for those who choose to participate in it. An update on the New JNCHES 2023-24 negotiations is also provided.

You can view previous communications here

Marking and Assessment Boycott

I am pleased to confirm that, despite the boycott, and thanks to the extra efforts of many of our colleagues, all students who had completed their studies graduated as planned last week. We continue to take steps to ensure that students will be able to progress to their next level of study.

The Senior Management Team has discussed arrangements relating to the marking and assessment boycott as it continues, under the current period of the mandate, to October 2023.

Whilst the University anticipates that the level of participation will continue to be low (with fewer than 60 members of staff participating to date), the type of marking/assessment activities that may be impacted will vary if staff do participate.

Some other universities have adopted an approach of continually withholding pay of staff participating in the boycott, regardless of the nature or duration of participation, until staff confirm they are resuming full duties, the boycott is called off/the period of the mandate ends or the requirement for marking/assessment activities has come to an end.

Whilst acknowledging this option, the SMT has agreed to adopt an alternative approach with regard to all remaining Undergraduate and Postgraduate marking as well as other marking and assessment activities as detailed in the table below.

Marking/assessment activity

Withholding of pay for staff who participate

Assigned marking – all remaining marking for Undergraduate and Postgraduate is to be marked and returned to School offices by 24 July 2023 at the latest.


This applies to:

(i) Outstanding marking for Undergraduate Levels 1, 2 and 3.


(ii) Marking for PGT second half session.


(iii) Marking for Undergraduate and PGT resits.


(iv) Completion of marking for courses where compensatory credit was awarded.


If staff complete the marking assigned to them and return this by 24 July 2023 then no further pay will be withheld.


If staff do not complete the marking assigned to them and do not return this by 24 July, then pay will be withheld on the basis of 50% of three weeks’ pay.


Where staff have annual leave that has been approved in advance, they will be given an extension to the three-week window (based on the length of the period of annual leave) to allow them the opportunity to complete and return the marking. If they do not return the marking by the deadline, adjusted to account for approved annual leave, then 50% of three weeks’ pay will be withheld.


If the length of the period of annual leave means that an extension goes beyond the final deadline for marks to be returned to Registry (11 August), 50% of three weeks’ pay will be withheld.   

Not attending examiners’ meetings

Pay will be withheld for the day(s) of the examiners’ meetings.

Not attending an academic misconduct hearing

Pay will be withheld for the date(s) staff do not attend.







Roles with assessment responsibilities (e.g., plagiarism officers)



Pay will be withheld for the period where activities relating to re-sits (not setting the assessments, not communicating requirements to students and/or not marking the resit assessment as per the deadline above) are not undertaken.   


Pay will be withheld for the period that the member of staff was expected to undertake the role but is not prepared to do so (within the mandate period).

Staff are requested to declare their participation in the boycott by completing the declaration of participation form and, if they decide to end participation, to complete the declaration form to notify ending of participation.

Heads of School/line managers, working closely with HR will confirm with staff the nature of the participation and the window for withholding pay, as well as the payroll run when pay will be withheld. This will include communication with staff who are participating in the boycott but have not declared so.

The University will continue to withhold pay based on 50% of 1/365ths for each day of participation in the boycott, including weekends but excluding annual leave and sick leave. Staff are reminded that they should notify their Head of School/line manager of annual leave and sick leave in accordance with the policy/procedure for each.

The University reserves the right to withhold pay up to 100%. Employer and employee pension contributions will continue as normal for those staff participating in the boycott.

The University remains hopeful that the boycott will be concluded through resolution of the dispute nationally and, meanwhile, will continue to work with AUCU locally in the key areas of mutual interest.

National pay negotiations

UCEA has proposed to the trade unions an independent review of the finances of the Higher Education sector, with the aim of reaching a mutual understanding ahead of the 2024/25 pay round which will start in January 2024. In addition, UCEA has restated to the trade unions a willingness to start talks with them on the pay related topics, if the trade unions are willing to pause industrial action for those talks to proceed.

A further update on progress with the national negotiations will be provided in due course. Meanwhile, locally we will continue to work with Aberdeen UCU on the pay-related topics and I am pleased to confirm that discussions on the key areas of casualisation and workload have been continuing to identify areas that can be addressed quickly as well as define actions and timescales pertaining to longer term considerations.

Best wishes


Karl Leydecker

Senior Vice-Principal

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