i News reports that tens of thousands of university students face having their end of year exams seriously disrupted after external examiners were asked to join strike action as part of the bitter pensions dispute.
In a bid to cause maximum turmoil at dozens of institutions, union leaders are calling on examiners to resign from their examining roles until the row is resolved.
The move marks a significant ratcheting up of pressure and comes just days after the University and College Union rejected a proposed deal to bring the pensions stand off to an end.
External examiners, who are usually lecturers from other universities, agree the setting of questions, moderate exam results and ensure that institutions’ assessment procedures are rigorous.
The union has even produced a letter template for examiners to sign in order to make it easier for them to resign.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “We are calling on external examiners to resign their positions at those universities in dispute over plans to slash staff pensions. External examiners ensure the rigorous quality standards in our universities, which must be upheld.”
Universities UK, which represents employers, declined to comment on the latest move and has called on the union to return to the negotiation table to end the dispute.
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