Dispute dispatches

June 2, 2006

Leicester University academics say they will not call off industrial action until docked pay is reimbursed.

Some exams in management have been stopped, and heads of department, instead of module conveners, have set others. In the absence of exam results, the university wants to award degrees on partial marks or unclassified basis.

* More than 600 students took to the streets at Glasgow University last week to blockade the Hillhead campus in protest over graduation uncertainty.

Shona Morrison, communications vice-president of the students' representative council, said: "This situation is hitting students hard, and while the SRC supports the AUT's cause, our priority has to be the needs of students.

A student delegation said that Sir Muir Russell, Glasgow's principal, told them that some honours students might have to graduate with an unclassified degree while some non-honours students might not be able to graduate until the AUT action was over.

A university spokesperson said: "All our final examinations have been set and sat according to the normal timetable."

* Birmingham University's Association of University Teachers branch passed a motion this week calling on the national executive not to go to a ballot on pay until it had received written guarantees from institutions that have docked pay that deductions will cease and be repaid.

* Robert Gordon University has postponed implementing its decision to deduct 100 per cent of pay from staff refusing to set, mark or assess exams pending the outcome of national negotiations.

David Briggs, RGU's director of human resources, had warned staff that pay would be withheld. He said: "Our students are entitled to be looked after properly. It is not sustainable for staff to expect to not work and still be paid."

* Academics at Northampton University have assured students that those who need references will get them. Those taking part in the boycott said they would provide whatever information in references they can "within the confines of the action".

* Richard Budden, president of Canterbury Christ Church University student union and a member of the governing body, called the decision by Christ Church senior managers to dock 20 per cent of the pay of academics taking industrial action short of a strike "inexcusable".

* Academics at University College London are set to be asked by managers to report if they have taken action short of a strike. Exam marks are due to be handed over on June 5. Those who refuse to comply as part of the Association of University Teacher's assessment boycott face pay deductions.

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