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Message to students – assessment boycott postponed

November 20, 2014

Dear Student,

The trade union which represents your lecturers and academic-related staff, the UCU, has today announced that our assessment boycott is now postponed until 15 January, when the matter will be reviewed. This postponement of the boycott will allow space for a series of discussions to take place between UCU negotiators and representatives of the universities affected by our pensions dispute.

We hope that these meetings are constructive. We hope that the final meeting on 15 January results in a settlement that is fair to all pension scheme members – who, you should remember, could lose up to 27% from their pensions if our employers’ original proposals are allowed to stand.

In the meantime, we remain in dispute with our employers over this issue. Our industrial action is postponed, not abandoned, and we will have no choice but to resume it in January if agreement cannot be reached. We will do so reluctantly, because none of us take the impact that this will have on your studies lightly. We will do so in the face of great pressure and even bullying from our employers, who have merely suspended and not withdrawn the threat of punitive pay deductions of up to 100% – that is to say they will expect all our teaching and research to be delivered for free. If we have to resume action, we will do so because we are defending our own future and the future of the profession for the benefit of current and future students.

The quality of education that Leeds can deliver to you and to the students who follow in your footsteps depends in a very direct way upon our ability to attract the best and brightest to a career in academia and to keep them here. We cannot do this if an academic career is made far less attractive by large reductions in the quality of retirement provision.

These are uncertain and difficult times, for both students and lecturers. We would like to thank you for your patience and your support. We will always do our best to keep you fully informed of progress in this dispute. You can find out the latest national news at http://defenduss.info. You may also find it helpful to read this Leeds UCU blog and follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/leedsucu) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ucuatleeds).

Thanks for reading

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