Queen Mary UCU members have voted to accept an agreement with management to end the marking boycott. Members of QMUCU (the trade union representing many academic and academic-related professional staff at Queen Mary) extend our deep gratitude to QMUL students for their patience and support since the beginning of this industrial action. This blogpost explains the news, outlines what happens next, and provides resources for students concerned about marks and grades.
The boycott is ending because we have won important gains for staff that begin to address the steep real-terms decline of wages and inequalities over many years. However there is still much work to do and the struggle continues. Staff will continue to challenge senior management’s punitive deductions policy and their years-long underpayment of London Weighting to all staff.
The release of marks does not solve everything. QM management have destroyed the Quality Assurances that give integrity to QMUL degrees and are central to the contract between students and the university: for explanation see here. Students are writing to the Office for Students about this and raising Complaints and Appeals. It is important to challenge these threats to the value of your degree. Making internal complaints is worth the effort, because they are required before students can appeal to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, the body that can force Queen Mary to provide partial refunds for disrupting your education and undermining Quality Assurances. Staff who teach you can advise on appeals, complaints, and claims.
Staff have now resumed marking and marks will be released within the next three weeks – as many will have lots of marking to do. Most students will progress regardless of missing marks, because QMUL has lowered the benchmarks for progression to just 60 credits. Other students will be waiting for marks for summer resits.
We know what a difficult year it has been, and we did not take the decision to begin industrial action lightly. We were forced to act by the decisions of senior management. Principal Colin Bailey poses as the protector of students, but has shown time and time again that he would rather sacrifice your education than treat his staff well. We are resisting his policies in order to make Queen Mary a safe and just environment for both staff and students. We did not do this alone, and would like to thank the many students who wrote countless letters, petitions and emails, took part in solidarity events and joined social media campaigns this past year
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to reach out, via QMUCU social media, or Community Solidarity social media. In the meantime, we hope you are enjoying a well-deserved break and look forward to being together again on campus soon!
Your teachers and professional services staff