Marking boycott will hit students at 69 UK universities

The BBC is reporting that hundreds of thousands of university students are likely to be affected by a marking boycott by academics angry at proposed changes to their pensions…

The University and College Union says the action, involving members at 69 UK universities, will start on 6 November.

It will halt any planned exams and stop students from receiving coursework, formal marks or feedback.

Universities UK, which represents the institutions, was “disappointed” at “a damaging course of industrial action”.

Talks between the two sides are scheduled for the day after the boycott starts, although the union said it was willing to meet sooner.

The row centres on attempts by Universities UK to reform the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

The organisation said the changes were needed because the scheme was in deficit.

But the union disputed the calculations and said the plans had been presented to members as a “fait accompli”.

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 cost members thousands of pounds in retirement.

Pensions would be calculated instead according to “career-average” earnings, which would apply “only up to a salary threshold of £50,000”, the union said.

For academics earning more than £50,000, the employers’ pension contribution will be only 12%, “which shifts the risk to scheme members and would rely on successful investments”, it argued…

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