Your Bristol UCU Newsflash, 24th February 2016

1) General Meeting, 1pm-2pm, Wednesday 2nd March, LT3 Arts Complex, 17 Woodland Road

We have two items on the agenda:

A copy of the agenda is on our website:

2) Pay

Branch President Tracey Hooper will be sending a short statement to Bristol UCU members on Monday next week, reporting back on the national Pay Briefing she attended on 17th February.

Also, next Monday material – posters and flyers – will be circulated to School and Divisional Bristol UCU Reps.

3) NEC Elections: Don’t Forget To Vote

Ballot closes Friday. For more info about the candidates:

4) Meet UCU for Lunch

Thanks to everyone who came along on Monday to what was a very convivial event, part of UCU’s national recruitment week.

Good to see quite a few early career staff and postgraduates there. Quite a few non-members present, too, so here’s to a spike in Bristol UCU membership!

5) ‘Pension and National Insurance hikes to hit academics hard’

With April just round the corner, two pay packet hits are fast approaching.

As reported in the THE, ‘thousands of university staff will soon see their take-home pay fall by about £100 a month when changes to state and occupational pension schemes take effect’.

NI contributions are set to rise after changes to the state pension system; about 150,000 staff who currently pay into USS will be hit further in April by increased employee contributions.

For example, a lecturer in USS on £46,414 a year – the median salary for the sector in 2014-15 – will pay an extra £1,175 a year. A professor on £70,000 a year will pay £1,529 a year more.

For the latest news and updates on our USS campaign, our Pension Officer maintains the Bristol UCU ‘Pensions and USS’ page on our Bristol UCU website.

6) VCs Vision and Strategy Statement

At our Joint Consultative and Negotiating Committee (JCNC) UCU yesterday, we had a discussion about the recent Message from the Vice Chancellor and Proposals for Discussion, following the the first phase of the University’s Vision and Strategy Consultation.

The concrete action resulting from that discussion is to schedule a more substantial agenda point/discussion at the next JCNC on 19th April. Nick Lieven, Pro Vice-Chancellor responsible for Strategy, has also offered to attend a meeting of members.

To continue reading, please have a look at our Bristol UCU blog post, ‘Response to University of Bristol ‘Proposals for Discussion’ – University of Bristol’s Vision and Strategy Consultation’.

7) Professorial Gender Gap

Bristol UCU welcomes the intention in the Proposals to eliminate gender pay gaps within the professoriate within three years

In 2014/15 there were 79 female professors (19%) and 347 male professors (81%).

Ten years previously, in 2004/05, there were 37 female professors (14%) and 236 male professors (86%).

Work to do.

8) Dates for the Diary

  • Fair Pay in Further Education, Support the Strike, TODAY, City of Bristol College

Colleagues at Further Education colleges are on strike today along with our sister union UNISON.

UCU colleagues are taking action over pay for the first time in over a decade over the failure to agree our pay claim of £1 extra per hour.

If you do have the time, please do visit picket lines at City of Bristol College and other local FE colleges. Also, email messages of support to

The Green Paper makes a number of radical proposals for the future of HE in England and Wales, including an elaborate new metric-based Teaching Excellence Framework.

Together, these measures have a single purpose – to make it as straightforward as possible for private companies to enter the HE sector and access UK Government-backed tuition fees.

What are we going to do about this?
How should the UK academic community respond?
What is our alternative?

The Second Convention for HE is an opportunity to begin to develop answers to these questions, and to develop links and informal organisation to promote debate, to resist the Green Paper’s narrow vision, and to develop alternatives.

For more information and to book a ticket, go to

  • South West HE Sector Meeting Wednesday, 9th March, 14:00-16:00, Old School Rooms, Stoke Gifford, Bristol

Bristol hosts the HE Sector Meeting for all members in the South West. Two minute walk from Bristol Parkway Station; travel costs reimbursed.

Initial agenda items include:

  • Pay Dispute
  • Green Paper
  • Attacks on Framework Agreement
  • Workloads

If you’d like to attend, email

9) Prevent Consultation

Don’t forget:

And please read the recent Bristol UCU blog post, ‘The Prevent Duty at the University of Bristol