Strike Action 2023

This page has the following information on our current marking and assessment boycott (MAB):

Strike Action 2023

Upcoming Strike Days

  • Friday 30 June
  • Saturday 1 July
  • Graduation week: 17-21 July
  • Clearing week: 14-18 August
  • Saturday 16 September
  • Welcome week: 25-29 September

Plan for Open Day Strike 1: Friday 30 June
8.30 – Assemble for picket(s): Outside the Main Building opposite the Centre for Student Life on Park Place.
12.00 – Informal rally with music – location as above (outside Main Building on Park Place).
17.00-20.00 – Cardiff UCU social event – drinks at Owain Glyndŵr pub, 10 St John Street, Cardiff, CF10 1GL

Plan for Open Day Strike Day 2: Saturday 1 July
8.30 – Assemble for picket(s): Outside the Main Building opposite the Centre for Student Life on Park Place.
12.00 – Informal rally with music – location as above (outside Main Building on Park Place).
13.00 – Cardiff UCU social event – Family picnic in Alexandra Gardens. Bring snacks, potluck lunch to share, picnic blanket and park games! (Weather dependent.)

Make a placard, wear pink

These strike days have 2 objectives:

  1. For our employer to reverse their punitive pay deductions for the MAB.
  2. For our employer to write a joint statement with us calling on UCEA (University and College Employers Association) to re-enter negotiations.

Please make placards supporting these goals.

Wear pink – If you can find any clothes or accessories in UCU hot pink, please wear them and help us to be as visible as possible.

Local and National FAQs

Participating in the Marking and Assessment Boycott? Thinking of participating? Have questions? There are two FAQs that might already answer them.

If you’re struggling to find an answer, consider emailing your department rep or the branch office.

Background and Recent News Media Coverage

Our action in November 2022 brought employers to negotiation. Unfortunately, employers have moved only very slightly on pay for 2023-24 and not at all for 2022-23. We need a better offer, and so members have entered a marking and assessment boycott from 20 April. Please see here for more information on the national action. The goal of the marking and assessment boycott is to get an improved offer from UCEA that addresses our 4-fights demands (see here for more details).

The last offer of a way-below inflation pay rise (real-terms pay cuts of around 7% on top of below-inflation rises since 2009) and offers to keep talking on casualisation, workload, pay-gaps, were rejected by members. We hope this escalation will allow us to resume meaningful negotiations with the employers.

On 28 April, a packed Cardiff UCU Emergency General Meeting voted 87% in favour of escalating to strike action in response to bullying 50-100% pay deductions over the marking and assessment boycott which will cover: Graduation; Confirmation & clearing; Welcome week & more. Cardiff UCU also reserves the right to call an indefinite strike *at any point* if Cardiff Uni don’t back down on their deductions.

Please see here for recent News Media Coverage.

For some great music to picket to see the Cardiff UCU Picket Playlist 2023

UCU Marking and Assessment Boycott: Info for students at Cardiff University

What is happening?

We are members of the University and College Union (UCU). We are your seminar tutors, professional services staff, and lecturers. We teach you, we support and guide you, and we do the research you rely on. 

Along with thousands of other UCU members across all UK universities, we are taking part in a ‘Marking and Assessment Boycott’. 

A Marking and Assessment Boycott is when university workers stop doing all work relating to students’ summative assessments

We will carry on doing all other aspects of our jobs, including teaching and supporting your learning and development. You can still contact us as usual if you have any problems or questions about your studies or personal welfare. We will be here for you.

This Marking and Assessment Boycott started on 20th April 2023 and it will continue until university bosses make us a fair offer.

Why is it happening?

We are asking university bosses for the following:

  1. Give us secure employment with a stable income, so we can plan our lives – not precarious, temporary or hourly-paid jobs.
  2. Get rid of pay gaps for gender, race and disability.
  3. Pay us enough so we can all afford the rising cost of living.
  4. Reduce our workload to a survivable level.

We already took strike action this year and in previous years.

Our employers still haven’t made us a fair offer. 

The Marking and Assessment Boycott is our absolute last resort. We have stopped marking assessments so university bosses will listen to us. 

We want to find a resolution to this dispute and get back to normal as soon as possible. But it is now in the hands of our employers.

How will it affect students?

During the Marking and Assessment Boycott:

  • Some of your summative assessment results this academic year may be affected. You might not get your marks until after the marking boycott ends. 
  • If you are in the final year of your degree, as an undergraduate or postgraduate student, this may mean your graduation is delayed.
  • There might be delays to official decisions about whether you can progress to the next year of your course.

Once university bosses make a fair offer to us, we will resume our marking and assessment activities so that students can receive marks and be able to progress and/or graduate.

There are also growing concerns that the university is trying to make shortcuts, worryingly reducing the quality of your degrees in the process. This is because of a risk that senior managers will potentially make alarming decisions to let students progress or even graduate without their work being properly marked. By bypassing the essential process of marking student work, such decisions could tarnish the employment prospects of Cardiff University graduates. We must be vigilant and oppose this.

Why should students support this?

Our working conditions are students’ learning conditions.

We are trying to protect our whole university community – including you – from year after year of harmful reforms that have damaged our morale and made it almost impossible to do our jobs properly. 

We care deeply about students. We want you to be able to learn and thrive. This is why we come to work every day!

We are really worried that if we do nothing now, university staff will face impossible workloads and a poorer and poorer quality of life. Students’ experience will only get worse, even though you (and your younger siblings) will still have to pay extortionate fees and get into debt.

We are worried that women, ethnic minorities, disabled people and working-class people who work here will face even more disadvantages.

The Marking and Assessment Boycott is now the only way we can achieve a fairer and more equal university, for the benefit of students and staff alike. 

More info: 

How can students help end the boycott?

  1. Email our Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Colin Riordan: 
  1. Say you support the current UCU Marking and Assessment Boycott.
  2. Ask him to please take steps to address UCU’s demands around casualisation, pay equality, pay, and workload.
  3. Request a refund of your student fees.
  1. Tell your tutors and lecturers, via email or in person, that you will support them if they take part in the marking and assessment boycott.

  1. Sign this pledge: 
  1. Post on twitter to say you support the Marking and Assessment Boycott, using the hashtag #ucuRISING and tagging @CardiffUCU

More info: 

Thank you for reading.

Strike pay

Strike pay is available from both the local and national strike funds. For more information on what this covers and how to claim, please consult our detailed branch guidance. View this page for information on working out if your deductions are correct.

Note that we are currently waiting to head from Head Office whether the strike fund will be able to cover claims after the 11th day of action (starting with the three in November 2022). We will update this page once we have this clarification.

Flyers for distribution: