King’s academics stop marking students’ work in assessment boycott backed by hundreds of staff

King's Vice-Principal Karen O'Brien / Johnny Tam

By Geena Molinaro and Aggi Cantrill

KING’S academics have stopped marking students’ work from today, after hundreds of staff voted to back industrial action in a dispute concerning changes to pensions.

Staff participating in the boycott will neither mark assignments nor set new assessed work until negotiations with “Universities UK” have resolved this issue.

There are 977 King’s staff in the University and College Union. However, the UCU said it is impossible to say how many King’s academics are participating in the boycott.

Several universities, including Imperial, have threatened to penalise those participating in the boycott by docking wages. King’s have taken no such action.

Areeb Ullah, Vice-President at KCLSU, has said that KCLSU “don’t currently have a stance on this issue.”

King’s education Vice-Principal Karen O’Brien said: “We regret that some staff may decide to take part in this action but the university will be open as usual.”

The administration at King’s advise students to continue their work as normal.

The principal issue that UCU have taken up with USS, the main pension scheme for Higher Education institutions, is their decision to introduce a salary cap at which an academic’s pension will not be increased.

The cap starts at £40,000, and only universities established before 1992 will be affected.

Although the USS claim that the budgetary changes are necessary because they are running a deficit, the UCU refuse to accept that this is a valid reason.

According to a UCU leaflet, last year, the highest paid USS employee received a 50% pay increase, making their salary £900k.