The University and College Union today agreed to conclude their exam boycott after agreeing a new pay deal with employer’s group UCEA.

From midnight tonight, academics at Nottingham and universities all over the country will suspend their industrial action thanks to a new deal worth 13.1% for academics over three years, and 15.5% for non-academic university workers. The deal was agreed by the UCU, who are a coalition of lecturer’s union Natfhe and university academics’ union AUT.

Joint presidents Dennis Hayes and Dr Steve Wharton, explained: “The industrial action is being stood down with immediate effect and UCU members will be balloted on the new offer. It is our members’ magnificent solidarity during this dispute that has got us to this point, and universities must return monies docked from those members’ salaries who took part in the action.”

Many students had been worried that their work would not be marked as many lecturers had refused to set exams or mark coursework since the strike began this March. The backlog of work lecturers may now face could mean students will still struggle to graduate or find jobs within their chosen fields.

“This has been an extremely difficult time for students, who have experienced serious disruption as a result of the dispute,” said NUS President Kat Fletcher. “However, today’s decision to put the revised offer to the membership finally breaks the deadlock that has been so frustrating for students.”

Joint general secretaries Sally Hunt and Paul Mackney noted: “No settlement ever provides everything that you want for members, but we believe that this is the best that can be achieved within the current national negotiating environment. Members will see significant increases in their salaries over the next two years, but we are acutely aware that this will still not make up the ground lost over the past decades. We will be working to ensure the disruption is kept to a minimum and that students will be graduating on time.”

Chris Kaufman, national officer of the Transport and General Workers Union, concluded: “We are very pleased that this is a first move to deal with low pay in universities but we will need to continue down this path in the future.”

Check out the next issue of Impact for more on this.

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