Support the Marking and Assessment Boycott – a guide for members

Thursday April 20 marks the start of our national mandate to undertake a Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB). The basic principle of the MAB is that members should refuse to carry out any duties relating to marking and assessment. Obviously, refusing to mark students’ work is not something that we undertake lightly – but the MAB is a powerful way for us to pressure employers to come back to the table with a serious and fair offer on pay and working conditions.

What is a MAB? 

The marking and assessment boycott means that you should refuse to carry out any duties relating to marking and assessment. It is particularly important that you do not upload any grades online or commit them to writing on any university system. However, you should expect and offer to carry on with your other duties as normal.

If you are not scheduled or asked to carry out any duties relating to marking and assessment, you should work as normal during this period. However, if you are subsequently asked to carry out such duties, you should refuse to do so. No colleague should under any circumstances mark work that was previously assigned to another colleague who is participating in the boycott.

There is extensive information on the UCU FAQ pages: MAB FAQs. 

If you are scheduled to undertake marking and assessment in the coming weeks and months, then you should take those scripts or papers that you are allocated, but not begin marking or commenting on them. Do not “mark and park”. It is important that you do not inform management of your participation in the MAB, and do not reallocate the marking that you are scheduled to undertake.

Should I tell my manager? 

No. It is vitally important that you do not in advance inform management or assist in their efforts to mitigate the MAB or reallocate marking and assessment. As with strike participation, it is necessary that you answer truthfully after taking part. For the time being, we advise you not to inform management about your participation.  If you have any concerns, get in touch with the branch.

Click here for some more detailed guidance and sample wording you can use in response to management requests for information.

How can I inform the union that I’m taking part?

Check your email for a link to an online form you can use to let us know that you’re planning to join the MAB. You can also tell your local rep. We encourage you to let us know you’re going to take part so we can offer you support. Not got the email? Message us at

I am a course convener/line manager and want to take part/support members:

Please drop an email over to

I am not scheduled to undertake marking and assessment, how can I help? 

There are loads of ways to support the MAB, even if you do not normally mark student work. You can help us organise MAB activities such as fundraising or student-facing campaigns or you can help us keep in contact with, and support those members that are actively boycotting marking and assessment. You can also sign our petition committing your support.

If you are in a strong enough financial position to donate, please make a contribution to the branch hardship fund.

You can do so by making a payment to:

UCU Cambridge Hardship Fund

Acct #: 20393807

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