Uni lecturers start exams boycott from November 6 over ‘threat’ to pensions

Students at Queen Mary University... exams at risk by lectuers' boycott

Students at Queen Mary University... exams at risk by lectuers' boycott - Credit: QM Uni

A boycott of exams and refusing to set students their coursework begins next week at many universities including four east London campuses.

It follows deadlock in talks between the lecturers and the universities over safeguarding pensions.

The boycott by the University & College Union begins on November 6 at 69 UK establishments which will also stop students receiving formal marks as well as halting exams.

These include the London University’s Queen Mary campuses at Whitechapel and Mile End and Royal Holloway campuses at Aldgate, Whitechapel and Holloway.

The universities plan switching retirement packages based on ‘final’ salary to ‘career average’ salary instead, following predictions about how little is going to be left in the pensions pot in future.

But the “simplistic” method used to work this out does not take account of investments growing by £8bn since 2011 and dividends outperforming average earnings and beating inflation, the lecturers point out.

“We’re being asked to buy a pig in a poke,” union general secretary Sally Hunt said. “That’s not acceptable.

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“So we are setting plans for a boycott because proposals for their dramatic pension changes or the reasons behind the method used for the deficit reduction plan remain full of holes—the information they’re relying on is misleading.”

Universities UK wants to switch to what lecturers believe is a “riskier” superannuation scheme, based on average earnings, that would make them worse off.

The row led to a 78 per cent vote last week for industrial action—just short of striking. Next negotiating meeting with Universities UK is set for November 7.


University lecturers vote for industrial action over threat to pensions