Action Short of A Strike in the form of the marking boycott is as we all now know certainly painful as we all face a 50% pay dock, but we should also be reasonably proud what it has achieved so far in terms of allowing successful negotiations with management.
It is also tough for students whose marks have been effectively delayed due to our action, although it must be said the vast majority are firmly in favour of ASOS as they recognize it is all about the future of education. Even senior management while not facing any financial repercussions for the mess that they have made of the University and their restructuring exercise must be feeling some pressure now from irate students and their parents complaining about the situation.
In the case of the Modern Languages Evening programme staff were originally faced with taking new contracts that would pay only £13-14 an hour or else faces closure of the entire programme and the loss of all their jobs. However, ASOS allowed our negotiators to successfully argue in the face of management threats to close the entire programme for not only a higher rate of £18-20 an hour for these staff, but also to effectively double this by adding in substantial time for preparation. The effect has been to ensure their salaries dropped by no more than 20% in the end.
In the Centre for English Language Teaching while we haven’t been as successful we have at least managed to argue for a rate of £18-20 an hour when the university wanted to pay staff at a far lower rate of £13-14 an hour and the 0 hour contracts that were proposed have been made optional rather than compulsory for staff. Staff in the Centre for English Language Teaching as in the Modern Languages Evening Programme are grateful for the support from their fellow Union members without whom none of this was likely to be achieved.
We now hope that ASOS can help to make management agree to tripartite talks involving ACAS and the remainder of the issues can be satisfactorily resolved.
The message is clear: support UCU and show solidarity with your colleagues by continuing the marking boycott if you want management to behave responsibly and sensibly.’