Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Academics Stage Boycott in Bitter Row over Pensions

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Academics Stage Boycott in Bitter Row over Pensions

Article excerpt

Byline: Ruth Lognonne Education Reporter ruth.lognonne@trinitymirror.com

ACADEMICS at two North East universities are staging a marking boycott from today amid a bitter row over pensions.

The action will take place at the universities of Newcastle and Durham among others across the country, the University and College Union (UCU) said, and continue until the dispute is resolved.

It will mean that students will not be set coursework, or receive formal marks and feedback on work. It will also bring any planned exams to a halt.

Union bosses have written to the 67 UK universities involved and warned of even greater sanctions if they dock full pay from the staff involved.

The union said it would be unjust to fine members 100% of their wages for taking part in the boycott.

However, a Newcastle University spokesperson said the institution reserves the right to withhold 100% of pay. She said: "Whilst concern about reforms to pensions is understandable, targeting student progress is regrettable and we will make every effort to ensure it does not have a negative impact on our students.

"The university does not accept partial performance of the contract of employment and any staff participating in the marking and assessment boycott are in breach of contract.

"Where a breach of contract does occur, we reserve the right to withhold 100% of pay, however, it has been decided that, in the first instance, we will withhold 25% of pay from the date on which they begin to take part in the boycott. …

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