In its latest communication about the UCU marking and assessment boycott (MAB), the University of Glasgow (UoG) continues its practice of obfuscating the truth in an attempt to save face. The email, undoubtedly meant to falsely reassure students and undermine MAB solidarity, is full of misrepresentation and flat out lies.
The email claims that UoG will “continue to encourage both sides to pursue further negotiations and to urge flexibility with a view to finding a mutually acceptable way forward.” However, unlike other universities, UoG has yet to release a letter urging UCEA, the employer’s association it is a voting member of, to resume negotiations. In fact, the email makes it clear that the university’s position is that if negotiations are to resume, it will only do so if the issue of pay is removed from the agenda!
In a clear effort to minimise the truth behind the impact and the success of the MAB, the email goes on to claim that “less than 10% of academic staff have advised us that they are taking part in the boycott.” The use of “academic staff” as the benchmark for the statistic ignores the fact that approximately 1/3rd of academic staff has no marking responsibilities since they exclusively do research only work. The majority of managerial academic staff also have little to no marking duties. Graduate Teaching Assistants, who bear the brunt of much of the grading, are also not counted as academic staff due to the casual nature of their employment contracts.
The university also boasts that its deduction of 30% of staff salaries for those participating in the MAB are “one of the lowest rates across the sector.” The fact that the punitive measures of UoG are less vicious than other universities is hardly something to be proud of. The percentage remains significantly higher than both how much time and pay is allotted to grading in the first place. As such, the cuts to salaries still go further in value than the pay staff would be getting from grading activities. This boast is insulting to staff members, and we will not be cowed into thanking our floggers simply because they offer us fewer or softer lashes than their compatriots.
The most blatant lie in the email is the claim that “no student will be prevented from graduating because of the boycott.” As we have previously reported, and the university has admitted, one of our members, a PhD student will not be able to graduate on the expected time due to the cancellation of their VIVA. Additionally, postgraduate-taught courses have yet to submit their final assessments, so it therefore remains unclear how many students will suffer a similar fate. None of these issues touch on the devalued degrees being issued to undergrads. The university claims that they “will not compromise on academic standards and quality,” but say nothing about how they will do this when primary markers are participating in the MAB.
The IWW sees through the lies being peddled by university management who continue to earn absurd and growing salaries for their role in supressing workers. We send a message of support to all members of the UCU participating in the MAB and urge them and our dual carding members to hold fast. We also urge students to point their frustration in the right direction. The MAB was called because of universities refusal to engage in meaningful negotiations with the UCU over the last three years! Let us be clear and unequivocal in our stance, the only just way to end the MAB and ensure graduations and progressions happen on time is for the university to meet with the UCU and resume negotiations now! You can help us put more pressure on the university by singing this petition.