Dispute dispatches

五月 5, 2006

* Birmingham University has docked by 10 per cent the pay of staff who have admitted to being involved in the assessment boycott. The deductions will be made from their April pay packets. It is the first confirmed report that pay has been deducted as part of the dispute, although several institutions have threatened to take similar action.

Union officials at Birmingham said they were seeking legal advice to consider whether to challenge the university's action. The university has sent an e-mail to students claiming that examinations and degree ceremonies will not be affected by the dispute.

nMore than 700 signatories have added their names to an online petition from the local Association of University Teachers at Aberdeen University urging the university court to refuse a request by senior vice-principal Stephen Logan to authorise a total stoppage of pay to staff involved in dispute.

Professor Logan has written to staff saying that unless he can be assured that all staff will support students, he will have no option but to consider recommending that pay, including pension contributions and life assurance cover, is withheld from those taking part in the action.

* Liverpool University has become the first Russell Group institution to state that it is prepared to award degrees to students who have not been able to sit their final exams because of the pay dispute.

In an announcement last Thursday, the university said students whose courses had been disrupted by the dispute will have the option to have their results determined on marks from their first semester, and any available from their second semester. Alternatively, they could wait for a full set of marks.

But the university warned: "This may involve waiting for marks to be released or it may involve students taking missed assessments or examinations during the summer."

* Worcester University is refusing to release student work to any lecturer who does not sign a declaration that it will be marked, in a bid to beat the assessment boycott.

The university registrar John Ryan told staff in a circular last week:

"Before collecting work for marking, colleagues will be asked to sign a declaration to this effect: no work will be released to a member of staff who refuses to sign such a declaration."

One member of staff said the move would be counterproductive, as academics taking action had been giving students informal feedback and a clear verbal indication of their marks, to minimise the damage to their progress.

At Bradford University at least 40 students staged a protest featuring a samba band outside their vice-chancellor's office to oppose pay docking at the institution. The students played drums and sang outside Christopher Taylor's room to complain against a university senate decision to dock 25 per cent of the pay of academics who take action short of a strike.

The vice-chancellor was nowhere to be seen, but pro vice-chancellor Geoff Layer was present and discussed the students' objections.

* Vivas have been cancelled in the engineering department at Queen Mary, University of London, because academics refused to attend them.

John Stark, head of the department, has sent an e-mail to all third-year students warning them that the exams would not take place. In a memo to staff, he wrote that this was because of a "minority" of staff taking action.

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