1) Day of Local Strike Action – Friday, 17th June, University of Bristol Open Day
Join your fellow Bristol UCU members on our local strike action on Friday, 17th June, a University of Bristol Open Day:
The main picket will be by the zebra crossing, opposite the Hawthorns from 8.30 am. Members will be deployed to other locations on arrival. A brief rally will be held outside Senate House at 10.30 am
Our message to prospective students and their families on Friday: choosing to study at the University of Bristol, great choice. We have great lecturers, great teachers, great staff, all of whom are committed to their students.
We also believe that fair treatment of staff should be an integral part of university life: university educators’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions.
UCU has produced national materials targeted at prospective students and their families:
If you cannot join us on the day – you are not in Bristol for example – please send messages of support via Twitter to @Bristol_UCU, using the hashtag #fairpayinhe.
2) We Are Not Alone
Bristol UCU is not taking action in isolation.
i) Colleagues at Bath UCU are taking action on the same day:
ii) Colleagues at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sussex, Kent and Essex are also taking action this week. Colleagues at UWE will be taking action in July as will colleagues at London universities.
Prospective students will see that our case is not a petty local grievance but part of a national campaign.
iii) We have also received support from Bristol Students’ Union:
At our rally on the 25th May, Bristol Postgraduate Officer Laura Ho noted ‘[w]ithout a staff team who feel valued, get rewarded for the work that they do and who aren’t paid less according to their gender, students will have teachers who are disenfranchised, unengaged and alienated from the sector that they have often dedicated their life’s work to’.
iv) We have also received 100% backing from the National Union of Students:
v) Please also see local coverage we got in the Bristol Post and the Bristol Cable:
vi) Recent blog posts have noted ‘we are on strike because united we bargain, divided we beg …[t]ogether, as a union and as a branch, if we’re serious about making a difference, about making our University better, we need to stand together and unite – staff and students‘.
See also a Bristol lecturer on the importance of our collective responsibilities and collective decision-making: ‘[d]o not underestimate how quickly your own situation could change, as your job is ‘deleted’, or you are ‘let go’ for not bringing in enough grant money, not scoring high enough student satisfaction, or just because your subject is no longer ‘important’ enough. You will need the union then’
vii) Across the country, external examiners continue to resign in solidarity with UCU’s campaign, showing the kind of collective responsibility highlighted above:
Please note: postgraduate external examining is included in the call to resign.
viii) Finally, sisters and brothers in Unite and Unison have rejected our HE management’s’’ final offer.
3) The Effectiveness of Solidarity – Newcastle UCU
What did collective union action ever do? UCU members at the University of Newcastle have just successfully forced the University to withdraw their draconian, grant target-driven ‘Raising the Bar’ initiative:
4) Taking Action on Friday
Why are we here?
Before and following the most recent 2-days of strike action, branches were asked by UCU national officials to nominate a local strike day as part of our pay campaign.
Bristol UCU circulated an e-ballot to determine Bristol members’ preferences.
The policy of branches’ nominating a local strike day was confirmed at UCU Congress on 2nd June, when delegates voted for the timetable in motion.
5) Any Questions?
If you have any particular question, UCU has a long list of FAQs:
Some recent ‘hot’ issues:
- HR have confirmed that the University considers it a reasonable request to ask staff to work on Saturday as long as staff negotiate time off in lieu to keep to 35 hours (or pro-rata).
- You are under no obligation to volunteer your intention to strike. Once the action has begun, though, when asked by a person in authority members should respond truthfully as to whether they took strike action.
- Remember to add a note to your signature file and/or your out-of-office message to inform people that you are on strike and also working to contract.
Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further queries.