What is happening?
UCU (The University and College Union) have announced further industrial action in 2023. This industrial action included the strike experienced earlier in the year and the current "action short of a strike" now includes a Marking and Assessment Boycott. You can find out more about what these terms mean here.
Some of you may be affected by the action. Because not all University of Brighton staff are members of UCU, not all students will be affected.
The University has published some information about the earlier strikes which you can see here.
marking and assessment boycott
Deborah Humphries, Vice Chancellor, recently said “I am hugely disappointed to have to confirm that the University and College Union (UCU) has informed the University that, as part of national action, it is extending its current action short of strike to now include a boycott of all marking and assessment processes with effect from 20 April 2023.”
We know that this action comes at the time of year designed to cause the most impact on students. The good news is that BSU have been working with the university to ensure that the impact of the industrial action is minimised as much as it can be. This means Supplementary Regulations have been put in place to help reduce the impact on receiving your award or progression decision.
The Supplementary Regulations are complex, but the Dean of your School will have contacted you already about how you will be affected. If you have any questions about how you will be impacted, you should contact your School Office in the first instance.
In addition to this, you can contact BSU’s Support Service who have a team of advisers who give free confidential and impartial advice to students at Brighton University. “
What is industrial action?
Industrial action is when members of a trade union take action against their employer. This is often as a result of failed negotiations concerning pay or conditions. A strike is when workers cease working or providing the services they are paid for. Workers do not get paid whilst they are on strike.
Who are UCU?
UCU (The University and College Union) are the largest teaching union for universities across the UK.
What is the strike about?
UCU balloted their members and the result of this ballot has meant they are taking industrial action around pay, working conditions and pensions. This is a country-wide dispute meaning that students at many different universities could be affected. You can find out more about the background to the dispute on UCU's website.
how will students be affected?
Industrial action aims to disrupt service leading to student dissatisfaction. Institutions rely on student satisfaction to operate effectively. UCU hopes that strike action will lead to key decision makers making changes to pay and working conditions.
Some students may be affected during the marking and assessment boycott, as their semester two assessment may not be set or marked. However not all teaching staff will take part in the boycott, so you may not be affected.
All students should have received information from the Dean of their School advising them of the changes to the assessment regulations the university has made. The Supplementary Regulations come into force on April 20th 2023 and are designed to lessen the impact of the boycott, allowing Exam Boards to still make decisions on progression and awards
what is 'action short of a strike'?
'Action short of a strike' (ASOS) is where staff refuse to complete tasks outside of their contractual working hours, or undertake tasks not specifically included in their contracts. Examples might include:
- Taking part in an assessment and marking boycott (i.e. not marking students' work in the evenings)
- Not supporting events and activities
- Not covering for colleagues that are absent or striking.
If staff are taking part in ASOS, you may find that normal service is disrupted, i.e. it may take longer for your lecturer to return your marked assignments.
can i still message my lecturer?
Yes of course, please continue to communicate with your lecturer as you usually would. But just bear in mind they might take longer to get back to you than usual.
will bsu buildings be open during the period of industrial action?
Yes - all our spaces will be open on all campuses. We appreciate this period might be difficult for some of you so please do come and see us.
what is bsu's position on the strikes?
Brighton Students' Union are committed to ensuring that all students feel supported during this period of industrial action. We are here to provide help, advice and guidance to all of you during this time.
If you are worried about the effects of the boycott on your studies or final marks, you should contact your School Office in the first instance. If you remain dissatisfied, you can book an appointment with one of our trained Advisors.
will i be assessed on material that i have missed due to the industrial action?
All Academic Schools have a responsibility for mitigating against the impact of the industrial action. They may do this by removing the missed content from your assessments, or providing the material to you in different ways. You should speak with your School about how they plan to do this.
The University must ensure you are not disadvantaged due to missed learning and that your learning outcomes are delivered, but they do not have to offer you a like for like replacement.
Got a question we haven't covered here? Please email BSUSupport@brighton.ac.uk and we'll add it.