Solidarity from the front line!
The Marking and Assessment Boycott is already having a big effect at Kingston and across the HE sector. Senior management are running scared.
Kingston’s senior leadership are putting out communications which are at best dubious, clearly designed to intimidate. All external examiners have been sent a threatening email demanding they confirm by today if they are participating in the boycott. This is despite the fact that external examination is not covered by the boycott. We have prepared a template message members can send to external examiners, so please use it wherever you can and need.
INFORMATION FOR LINE MANAGER MEMBERS
Following yesterday’s clarification about notification, a reminder that managers should only be asking about past/current participation in the boycott, not future intentions. Members who are line managers should also follow advice from UCU here: UCU members who are heads of department or managers
THE BOYCOTT IS WORKING
Further afield, boycott actions have already forced university senior management into negotiations on pensions and 3 of the Four Fights. Kingston’s senior leadership have also made minor concessions even before the boycott started. Students at Leeds University, where the Vice-Chancellor has refused to meet with UCU officers, have occupied management offices forcing the VC to speak with them. Ulster University locked out its UCU teaching staff by announcing 100% deductions for the boycott. After negative publicity and reputational damage, the university has now offered to negotiate locally, and staff are back working but still staying in the boycott. It’s working, even with comparatively few participating. It’s never too late to join in.
The central concerns remain around pay deductions and intimidation. We sent out guidance about giving notification of participating in the boycott yesterday. Do get in touch if you need further support.
We are addressing potential deductions very seriously, and our aim is to mitigate hardship and losses to a significant extent through:
- Local hardship fund– share and donate!
- Central hardship fund– this has received donations from £15 to £50k from branches with member levies – so all members can apply to this.
- Twinning. We are linking up with 5 branches which didn’t reach the threshold for action or which aren’t acting in the boycott. This is a central plank of a cross-branch solidarity strategy initiated by Heriot-Watt UCU – see document here: The Heriot Watt Strategy 2022. This will be a source of financial, social, and political solidarity for us now, providing the foundations of more mutual aid in the dispute going forward.
We’re also pleased to announce RHUL-UCU passed a motion of support for Kingston UCU and agreed an initial donation of £500. We are grateful to RHUL-UCU, and look forward to further fundraising and solidarity activities with our twinned institutions, now also including KCL.
SUPPORTING/SUPPORT FROM STUDENTS
It is important to keep communicating with students about the boycott, including the support we can give them, and how they can support us by putting pressure on our senior leadership to resolve this dispute by entering into meaningful negotiations. Share the Kingston UCU letter to students about the boycott and the e-poster produced by student members of UCU and Kingston UCU branch committee (left).
Again, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any concerns or questions.
Good luck & solidarity,
Kingston UCU branch committee