Impending assessment boycott hits the news media

The announcement of the assessment boycott from 6 November has lead to widespread media coverage in both the national and local press.

The Guardian has covered the background of the dispute in an article which also drew attention to the mounting criticism of the employers’ figures:

A collection of prominent statisticians have also said that EPF has artificially inflated the deficit by assuming a buoyant economy when predicting future salaries, but assuming a recession when predicting investment returns. The information that UUK has produced to explain the scale of cuts to staff pensions has also been labelled misleading by the University of Oxford.

The Times Higher pointed out that UCU is ‘unhappy that employers had presented their proposals as a fait accompli and had failed to address criticisms of the proposed scheme’.

Other recent coverage as listed by Google includes:

Marking boycott will hit students at 69 UK universities

BBC News – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
It said it announced the boycott after talks last week failed to provide a guarantee of “any effort to protect the pensions” of USS members. In particular the union said it was angry at proposals to end the final-salary element of the scheme, which it claimed would …

Marking boycott set to affect ‘thousands of students’

Telegraph.co.uk – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
UCU claims that the process used to work out the deficit is too simplistic and does not take into account the strengths of the scheme. But UUK said that proposals offer the best possible deal under the terms that the trustees of the USS have set. Talks were held …

University lecturers plan marking strike over pension changes that ‘could cost

The Independent – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
“We are setting plans for an assessment boycott in place because USS members have made it clear they are unconvinced by the employers’ arguments,” said Sally Hunt, general secretary of the UCU. “We are being asked to buy a pig in a poke and that is …

Marking boycott could mean no coursework or exams for British university students

ITV News – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
The action will start across 69 UK institutions on Thursday, November 6, the University and College Union (UCU) said. It will mean that students will not be set coursework, or receive formal marks and feedback on work. It will also bring any planned exams to a …

University students set to be hit by marking and exam boycott

Daily Mail – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
The dispute focuses on changes to the USS, which are understood to have been prompted by an expected deficit in the pension scheme. UCU claims that the process used to work out the deficit is too simplistic and does not take into account the strengths of …

69 UK universities’ boycott over pensions to affect students

The Upcoming – ‎Oct 28, 2014‎
A perceived drawback of USS was that it did not link to final pay, which is one major element facing reform and higher education advocacy organisation Universities UK (UUK) aims to tackle the program’s shortfall. However, UCU’s general secretary Sally Hunt …

Degree chaos fears after lecturers vote for marking boycott

The Courier – ‎Oct 28, 2014‎
They claim changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) could lead to staff recruitment and retention problems. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt announced the action after talks between employers’ representatives last week failed to reach an …

University lecturers in pensions row action

Herald Scotland – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
Under the move by the UCU union, which represents academics and support staff, thousands of students will no longer receive marks or feedback for official assessments from November 6. The row centres on the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) …

University of Southampton staff are set to go on strike next week over a pensions

Daily Echo – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
The employer says the changes are necessary to deal with the USS’s huge £8 billion deficit. Forty five per cent of UCU members across the country voted, with 87 per cent for this boycott while 78 per cent of voted for strike action. UCU general secretary, Sally …

University staff boycott over pension row

Scotsman – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
The union balloted members in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) at 69 institutions and turnout was 45 per cent. The dispute focuses on changes to the pension scheme, which are understood to have been prompted by an expected deficit. UCU

University students hit in marking boycott by academics

Yorkshire Post – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
The union balloted members who are in the Universities Superannuation Scheme at 69 institutions. Turnout was 45 per cent. The dispute focuses on changes to the USS prompted by an expected deficit in the pension scheme. UCU claims the process used to …

One thousand university staff set to go on strike

Daily Echo – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
The employer says the changes are necessary to deal with the USS’s huge £8 billion deficit. Forty five per cent of UCU members across the country voted, with 87 per cent for this boycott while 78 per cent of voted for strike action. UCU general secretary, Sally …

Marking boycott amid pensions row

Belfast Telegraph – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
The dispute focuses on changes to the USS, which are understood to have been prompted by an expected deficit in the pension scheme. UCU claims that the process used to work out the deficit is too simplistic and does not take into account the strengths of …

University staff threaten action in pensions row

The Actuary – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
The changes are expected to plug a hole in the USS £8bn deficit. However, UCU said proposals were full of ‘holes’ and ‘misleading’. General secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘The employers failed to convince us of the need for the dramatic changes or the reasons …

Exams for University of Liverpool students to halt during staff boycott in pension

Liverpool Echo – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) will begin an assessment boycott at the institutions – and 67 other UK universities – on Thursday, November 6. It means students will not be set course work or receive formal marks and feedback. Exams …

Academics plan assessment boycott in university pension row

Public Finance – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘The employers failed to convince us of the need for the dramatic changes or the reasons behind the methodology for its deficit reduction plan. ‘We are setting out plans for an assessment boycott … because USS

Pensions row will see members of the University and College Union boycott

Bath Chronicle – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
However, UCU says it is happy to clear its diary and meet sooner. The row … ‘We are setting plans for an assessment boycott in place because USS members have made it clear they are unconvinced by the employers’ arguments as well. We are being asked …

Academics’ action to hit students

The Courier – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
More than three-quarters (78%) of those who voted in the recent ballot supported strikes, while 87% were in favour of action short of walkouts, which includes the assessment boycott. The union balloted members who are in the … Talks were held between the union and employers’ representatives last week, but UCU insisted that these failed to provide them with a guarantee that employers were making an effort to protect the pensions of their members who are in the USS. It added that more detailed negotiations are …

UCU lecturers to go on marking strike over pensions

Western Daily Press – ‎Oct 27, 2014‎
… information they are apparently relying on to back them up keeps being exposed as misleading. “We are setting plans for an assessment boycott in place because USS members have made it clear they are unconvinced by the employers’ arguments as well.