Tuesday, May 16, 2006

AUT blame University’s Intransigence

The AUT at Queen's say that they offered QUB's Vice-Chancellor a way out of the current exam crisis. The Gown reported yesterday that some exams will not go ahead due to strike action and we have now spoken exclusively to the AUT branch at QUB.

The AUT branch claim that they have been campaigning for a pay increase for 20 years which Vice-Chancellors have repeatedly promised but not delivered. Now that Universities will be receiving their biggest ever cash injection from new government funding and the so-called top-up fees, the AUT claim that QUB have back-tracked on their commitment. "They have tried to deny that they ever made this promise and they have spread misinformation about the dispute among both staff and students. It is this perfidy that enrages staff." the AUT said.

When asked if they did not regard their actions as deeply damaging to their students the AUT said, "As dedicated education professionals, we dislike having to take any action that affects students. But we have suffered twenty years of neglect and we cannot allow this to go on any longer. We believe that students deserve to be taught by, and receive professional support from, skilled and motivated staff who receive a decent wage for their work. If the crisis in pay is not addressed, staff will leave the profession, new staff will not be recruited, and those who stay will be even more overworked and demoralised. We believe that this is not in your interest or that of any student. NUS, USI and QUB Students’ Union understand this, which is why they have supported our pay claim. The sad truth is that the only way we can make Vice-Chancellors listen to their staff is by taking this action."

In an exclusive disclosure to The Gown, the AUT said that they offered to switch to non-marking rather than non-assessment which would have allowed all exams to go ahead. They would then continue to pursue a settlement, and would only have marking to catch up on, which could be done quickly without any significant impact on students. The AUT claim they warned the University that this was the only way to avoid exam chaos. "Instead, QUB management has chosen to cancel many exams and offer dubious assessment as a replacement. Worse still, students may take inappropriate exam papers cobbled together and/or marked by people who do not know the module. We urge you to write to or email the QUB Vice-Chancellor vc.office@qub.ac.uk demanding that employers enter speedy realistic negotiations so that the action can end and you can receive a credible academic qualification." they said.

The University will be under pressure to explain how students will now be assessed and if their degrees can truly be considered comparable to those that will sit their exams this term and have done so in previous years.

6 Comments:

Anonymous PS said...

In an exclusive disclosure to The Gown, the AUT said that they offered to switch to non-marking rather than non-assessment which would have allowed all exams to go ahead.

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If that's true then the University have a lot to answer for, in my opinion.

5/16/2006 8:11 pm  
Anonymous observer said...

why did the gown delete my post regarding renne prendergast's email to staff?

5/17/2006 12:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The AUT is merely trying to divert the blame from themselves, they are taking this action not the university. They claim to care for the students but during my time at queens iv found that most lecturer's couldnt give a stuff about their students and are more worried about their next publication. seems they care more for money than the students

5/17/2006 5:24 pm  
Anonymous David Cather said...

If the academic staff wanted to make a protest to the University couldn't they halt all research work? This would instantly hit the University where it hurts i.e. income from research funding. Whereas the present protest is a much slower war of attrition.

But then the acadenic staff value their research work too much to do something like that, much easier to take it out on the students.

5/18/2006 9:51 am  
Blogger Roberto said...

Oh, rite ah ha...

Well the current action has a direct affect on students and therefore offers a stunt PR.

Strikes are won in the public domain. The bigger impact, the more likely you are to get what you want. But there doesn't seem to be any outcome from this at all.

Yours, Robert

5/18/2006 11:58 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i actually asked my lecturer why they didn't stop their research and writing as part of the strike.

he said he didn't think they'd have any careers left to come back to, or something that that effect. Though it does depend on your subject, but i doubt much funding comes into the university for humantiies or social sciences.

5/18/2006 1:49 pm  

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