On September 6th, the UCU ended its Marking and Assessment Boycott after 60% of its members voted in favour of suspension and have now served universities with notice of 5 more days of strike action.
Despite the end of MAB, the HEC (Higher Education Commission) has called five days of strike action later this month from Monday 25 to Friday 29 September- striking action that is also incited by pay and working conditions. UCU General Secretary Jo Grady stated ‘We are left with no option but to strike during the start of term because our members refuse to stand by while pay is eroded and staff are shunted onto gig-economy contracts’ (https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/13171/Start-of-university-term-to-be-hit-with-five-days-of-UK-wide-strikes). Adding ‘it is shameful that vice chancellors still refuse to settle the dispute despite a year of unprecedented disruption and have instead imposed a pay award that staff overwhelmingly rejected’. ‘We are faced with employers that want to see staff and students suffer’
In addition to planned industrial action in September, HEC has also voted to launch another national ballot on this year's pay offer. This means that members will now vote on whether they are in favour of the renewal of a striking mandate to force employers to reconsider pay and working conditions. Disputes on both issues ensue as workers in the sector continue to be impacted by pay cuts, workloads and casualisation.
As the mandate on striking action has ended, staff will now be expected to return to marking papers. As of yet, there has been no announcement by the university on when marking will be returned to students. And no updates have been made to the Students and Industrial Action page.