The University of Glasgow, along with the majority of universities in the UK, has been in a dispute with the UCU over pay, equalities, working conditions, and pensions. For the duration of the dispute, now more than three years, UoG, and the employer’s association it is a member of, UCEA, have failed to meet workers’ demands or successfully negotiate a resolution to the dispute. This has pushed union members to escalate their pressure and call for a Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB). We call on UoG students to support the UCU by signing a petition in solidarity with their Marking and Assessment Boycott.
The MAB has impacted one of our members, a post-graduate student at UoG who has had their VIVA VOCE, the final hurdle to being granted a PhD, cancelled. We briefly spoke to them about the impact of this cancelation, this is what they had to say:
“For three years myself and other IWW members have stood shoulder to shoulder with fellow workers in the UCU on the picket lines. University management would probably want me to aim my frustration at them [UCU] instead of themselves for the cancelation of my viva.
“But why should I be frustrated with the union fighting for both the improvement of the quality of education, which is directly tied to the worth of my degree, and the future working conditions in the industry I hope to enter?
“The cancelation of my viva has had serious implications on my immediate future. From my ability to apply to jobs to casting doubt on my graduation date. This is not to mention the mental toll and anxiety this has produced.
“The university has promised that “no student will be prevented from progressing to the next stage of their degree, or graduating, because of industrial action”, but this is a promise they obviously can’t keep, as made clear by my case.
“The cancelation of my viva, and any impact the MAB has on other students, is entirely the responsibility of university management and a reflection of their unwillingness to provide fair working conditions for their staff.”
While it remains unclear how the MAB will impact the ongoing dispute between universities and the UCU, or how many other students at UoG and other universities will be unable to graduate on their scheduled times, we at the IWW would like to encourage all students to organise in a way that puts the burden of responsibility where it belongs, university management.
While it might be tempting to blame the UCU for any delays students might face, power lies in the hands of the universities. The best way to end the MAB and ensure graduations and progressions happen on time is for all students and staff to join the UCU in putting pressure on the university. To this end, we have prepared this petition for students to make their voices heard and make it clear to the university that the only just way to bring an end to the MAB is for them to meet with the UCU and engage in meaningful negotiations now!
The IWW is a union for all workers and organises both staff and students. If you are a UoG student and would like more information about what we can do to support you please email us on glasgowuni [at] iww [dot] org [dot] uk