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UCU Ballot for Industrial Action – Marking Boycott

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Published date
25 April 2014

You may be aware that UCU are balloting nationally for industrial action in the form of a marking boycott.  This industrial action, if it goes ahead, will start on Tuesday 6 May.

Whilst we fully recognise the right of trade unions to take legal industrial action, it is regrettable that UCU have chosen to take action now when it is designed to have the most impact on student progression and graduations.  Of course we are taking steps to mitigate the effects on students and we have issued information to reassure them as far as we can.

UCU are circulating incorrect information to their members at UAL about pay awards for more senior staff and academic staff resources.  More detailed responses are shown in the attached Q&A document but some key facts are as follows:

  • UAL Executive Board received a lower average increase in salary for 2013/14 than the average for staff at grade 7 and below (taking account of national increases and incremental progression).
  • UAL has 94 staff above the national pay spine (not 101 as alleged by UCU) and many of these are Professors. They received the same percentage increase as the average for grade 7 and below.
  • Between 2010/11 and 2012/13 UAL increased its overall academic staff numbers (full time equivalent) by over 30.
  • Our financial surpluses are being used to reduce our net bank debt (which enabled the investment at Kings Cross); improve the facilities of our students and staff, making it possible to plan major new investments in the UAL estate for London College of Communication, London College of Fashion, Wimbledon College of Arts and new student accommodation at Camberwell.
  • As shown in the THE survey (3 April 2014 edition) academic staff up to and including grade 7 at UAL have a higher average salary than most other universities in the sector (including several others in London).
  • Higher Education pay increases have been higher in recent years than a number of parts of the public sector where there have been pay freezes.

We very much hope that UCU members will view the current pay offer in this context and that harmful action which will have a damaging effect on our students can be avoided.

Nick Rogers
Director of Human Resources

Enc. Q&A document