May 17th 2023 MAB Update

This email to members focuses on the marking and assessment boycott (MAB) that members are currently participating in.
One hundred and thirteen members have told us they are actively participating in the boycott. Another 40 members have told us they are still making up their minds. Twenty-four members have told us that they don’t have duties that they can refuse. Thirty-six have told us that they don’t intend to participate. We know that staff in CARBS, CHEMY, COMSC, EARTH, ENCAP, GEOPL, HCARE, JOMEC, LAWPL, MEDIC, MLANG, OPTOM, PHYSX, PSYCH, SHARE, SOCSI and BIOSI are participating. We know from other branches that a MAB is a form of industrial action that requires fewer participants to be effective than for a strike. It may feel you’re doing this alone, but you’re not. Remember, you can join the MAB at any point, even if you have already done some of your marking.
If you’ve not told the branch about whether you intend to participate yet, please complete the very short (60-seconds) branch survey:
The branch wrote to UEB regarding its deductions policies on the 4th May. A reply was received on Friday (12th). Unfortunately, the UEB was unable to bring any further clarity to its policies (some of which appear to have been surreptitiously changed). The branch asked UEB what it was doing to put as much pressure on UCEA to end the dispute as it was attempting to put on staff, but UEB is sticking to its line that “[a]s these are national collective matters, it requires both UCEA and the national trade union representatives to find a route through to a solution.” It is not clear what solutions can be found while UCEA refuses to negotiate with UCU. It ought to be surprising that our employer does not seem interested in effecting a change to this position.

Contributing to the local fighting fund

We are asking each member who is not participating in the MAB to give £50 to the branch GoFundMe, with the goal of raising £20,000 for it in the first instance. Participating in the MAB will cost your colleagues thousands of pounds. Much smaller sacrifices from members not participating would help ease the burden and help them to sustain action on your behalf.
Our GoFundMe:
Marking boycotts take time to build pressure on employers. The longer that we can collectively support colleagues to stay in the action, the more pressure we can can collectively exert on our employers.
Our branch treasurer has done some rough calculations, and found that a Grade 6, Spine 33 member engaged in the MAB is losing approximately £1200/month. To fully compensate everyone participating is not what we are aiming to do – not all members will need this level of support, even if we had the funds to provide it. But we do need to grow our local fighting fund in order to support members most financially affected by their participation.
The Birmingham UCU branch has raised a local fighting fund of £50,000. If we could raise even half of that we’d be in a much stronger position when it came to supporting members in the most difficult positions. If every member not participating in the MAB made a £50 contribution, we’d breeze past £20,000!

Participating in the boycott

We are asking everyone to participate to the fullest extent possible. The more tasks members refuse to perform, the more pressure we can put on our employer. If you are struggling to work out how to participate, please talk to your branch rep, or come along to one of the MAB solidarity meetings to talk about it. We are refusing tasks assigned to us as individuals, but this is a collective endeavour!

Solidarity meeting for Welsh speakers on Friday at midday

[Fersiwn Cymraeg 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿]
Ydych chi’n siarad Cymraeg? Do you speak Welsh? The branch is running a Welsh-medium solidarity meeting at 14.00 on Friday 19th May. The meeting is open to all members, not just staff in the School of Welsh. The meeting will take place entirely in Welsh. Unfortunately, Zoom is not able to provide live captioning for Welsh. If you are not a Welsh user, please do consider coming along to one of the other MAB solidarity meetings that have been scheduled. Diolch!
Please join on Zoom:
MAB solidarity meetings
Regular MAB solidarity meetings are taking place and are open to all members. Whether you have questions about the action, are thinking about taking part, or just want to talk about how things are going, please do join.
Wed 10 May at 12pm Tue 16 May at 10am Thu 18 May at 10amMon 22 May at 1pmWed 24 May at 11am
On Zoom:
Cardiff UCU