She wrote: ‘The Higher Education Committee met to review the current dispute and agree next steps. It was noted that members had already taken substantial industrial action in the campaign for fair pay and that in the continued absence of any movement from the employers, further escalated action would be necessary.
‘Having examined assessment timetables, HEC therefore confirmed the implementation of a marking boycott with effect from Monday 28 April.
‘This is a serious but unavoidable step for which the union will need to fully prepare members.
‘HEC therefore agreed that between now and 28 April the union should prioritise working with branches to maximise the impact of a marking boycott, including in the minority of institutions where most assessment has already been done.
‘This will include branch meetings to discuss the marking sanction, joint union meetings, early discussions with local students’ unions and continued campaigning activity including a focus on VC/Principals’ pay and perks.’
She added that UCU will also begin ‘detailed discussions with our colleagues in the National Union of Students (NUS) on the impact and practicalities of a marking boycott.
‘It was therefore agreed,’ she said, ‘that our current claims which set out the case for fair pay and equality in HE be continued in any new negotiations until its terms are met. This is the position we will suggest to the other HE unions. No member I have spoken to wishes to see this dispute escalate, but in the continued absence of meaningful negotiations this is our only alternative. Even now the timetable HEC has set provides a window of opportunity for the employers to address our just demands, which I hope they take’.