Your Bristol UCU Newsflash, 16th November 2016

1) Pay

All members should have received the result of the consultative ballot yesterday, ‘Update on UCU higher education pay campaign’ from Paul Bridge, UCU Head of Higher Education.

By a margin of 57% to 43% members voted not to undertake further industrial action at this time.

By a margin of 52% to 48% members voted that the offer provided a sufficient basis for the union to begin “detailed joint work aimed at tackling the gender pay gap and casualisation”.

This means that UCU is now standing down the current work to contract industrial action as well as our call to external examiners to boycott those duties.

2) #Nov19, United For Education Demo, Saturday, London & TEF

Reminder: Bristol UCU has organised coaches on Saturday morning to London:

On TEF, despite the concerns and opposition of a number of University of Bristol staff and students – see for example our open letter the Board of Trustees have rubber stamped the University entering the second stage of TEF in January.

The vote, unscheduled, means that Bristol is validating an ‘excellence’ framework that engenders further uncertainty at this University, at a time of great ‘change management’. Staff and students are lumped with a costly, fatally flawed funding exercise that ignores the real structural issue of teaching quality: casualised employment.

3) Workload, Workload and Workload

As part of our workload campaign, we are asking members to get in touch with any of their workload-related concerns.

Given that workload is missing from the ‘Our Staff’ strand of the University Strategy – this despite our and individual members’ lobbying – it is clear that there is no central ‘ownership’ of the issue. We need a ‘bottom up’ approach, members highlighting local workload management failings.

It is up to us to use a much under-utilised tool, the University of Bristol Workload Agreement [PDF].

4) Communications and Marketing Division – Slotting

Bristol UCU are pleased to note that following a lot of hard work by union reps and members in the Communications and Marketing Division restructuring, staff have now slotted and will be moved over into new roles in the new structure.

As pointed out in previous Newsflashs, a number of staff were at risk of redundancy in this restructuring. Thanks to MarComms staff’s diligence at a time of high stress, the support of union reps, and the uptake of other options (voluntary redundancy), it means more dedicated, skilled members of staff will be keeping their jobs.

5) Recruit A Casualised Colleague

Much talk in the wake of the pay campaign was on the widespread use of casual contracts in teaching and research positions.

What better way to make good on this new found commitment to casualised staff than recruiting a fixed-term researcher, a 10-month Teaching Assistant or a postgrad Hourly-Paid Teacher?

Recruit a casualised colleague today:

Whether securing more secure contracts, or ensuring equal treatment of part time staff, Bristol UCU looks forward to representing casualised colleagues on matters that matter to them.

6) Postgraduate Members

Postgraduate members met last week to discuss a range of issues: late contracts; lack of preparation and assessment time; doing more as a union to represent casualised staff

If you’re a postgraduate, and you want to get involved, email to join our fledgling postgrad ‘network’ (name TBC!)