Your Bristol Newsflash, 30th November 2016

1) Changes to Notice Period – Terms and Conditions

We are pleased to report that, following representations from Bristol UCU, the proposed change to notice periods in the terms and conditions for J and above staff has been withdrawn for the time being.

2) TEF@UoB

Branch reps and negotiators are working on number of pressing issues, many of which were discussed yesterday at our Joint Consultation & Negotiation Committee (JCNC).

One such issue is the impact of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) at Bristol, particularly as the Board of Trustees, despite our and the Students’ Union recommendation, voted to enter year 2 of the TEF.

Bristol UCU Officers and Reps have drafted a paper, Bristol UCU – TEF at UoB [PDF], which notes our concerns about the University decision-making process thus far and our request that Bristol UCU is part of any consideration of the TEF at Bristol.

Given the implications, it is essential that staff – early career as well as senior managers – are included in any institutional response to our potential Bronze ranking.

In the paper we noted ‘if there is to be a “drive to Silver” we would expect the University to not simply ask more of overworked staff – deploying the stick more than the carrot’.

3) Learning Lessons From University Restructurings

At JCNC, we also discussed restructurings and some joint trade union concerns as to how they have been managed in recent times.

In the first instance, restructurings should follow the University’s existing restructuring protocol. This protocol highlights, for example, the need to minimise uncertainty, the need to consult appropriately with staff and trade unions and the need to provide job security and opportunities for existing staff as far as possible

We presented a paper at JCNC and Bristol UCU reps are looking forward to working with Human Resources (HR) and our sister unions in a joint effort to avoid what we consider to be unnecessary disruption and stress in the change management process.

4) External Advertising and Appointment of Heads of School

We raised the issue at JCNC. We continue to press for what we see as more of a ‘school voice’ in the selection and appointment process.

For example, in the letter spelling out our Bristol UCU suggestions, we argue for the inclusion of a non-professorial academic member of the School (replacing the Faculty Manager) on the search panel.

5) UCU National Elections

Nominations are in for, amongst others, the post of UCU General Secretary ae well as members of our National Election Committee (NEC).

More details can be found on the UCU website:

Turnout for UCU elections is traditionally low, yet members of NEC determine critical union policy – the decision to remain ‘neutral’ in the EU Referendum for example. If members want their views represented, they need to select NEC members that represent them.

The General Secretary role is of obvious importance, being our most prominent national spokesperson and advocate.

The candidates are Sally Hunt, the current General Secretary, and Jo McNeill, Liverpool University UCU President.

6) Anti-Casualisation Day of Action – Thursday 24 November

Last Thursday, UCU had its annual ‘stamp out casual contracts’ day of action with nearly 60 branches undertaking activities aimed at unionising staff on precarious contracts and calling for more secure employment in education.

UCU’s high profile campaign is getting widespread coverage in the national media so there has never been a better time to raise the issue in your workplace and invite staff on casual contracts to join the union:
Download and circulate our excellent campaign newsletter ‘Security Matters’
Share our reports on precarious work in higher education.
See our UCU online ‘wall of support’. Spot the Bristol UCU photos!

7) What is My Right to Work, or Remain Working, in the UK?

UCU is currently offering members ‘direct’ immigration advice on Brexit-related queries.

We’ve teamed up with Bindmans LLP, a law firm with a national reputation for its immigration law team.

It’s a direct service because unlike other forms of legal advice, members can go direct to our national legal team; they don’t need to go via the branch or the regional office.

If you wish to take this up, please go to

for further details